Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s cinema is spicy curry for the soul. It doesn’t soothe, but it gets you agitated. You want to reach out and touch the lives of his lead characters, offering them succour. Shot at realistic locations like the Mahim chawls, Sewri jetty and Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the movie introduces us to the lives of the downtrodden and the maximum city’s dark underbelly; a place you know exists, but you are reluctant to enter.
The film tells the story of a boy and his elder sister battling daunting odds. It is left to two acting tyros – Ishaan Khatter and Malavika Mohanan – to do the heavy lifting. The duo puffs and pants through the ordeal, giving full vent to a gamut of emotions – anger, grief, remorse, resolve, repugnance – but their efforts are way too uneven to lend the film sustained impetus.
Ishaan Khatter’s charming and heroic presence that keeps the momentum sustained. He is feisty, lively and full of potential. Inspired from Bollywood and its tales of one-upmanship, Ishaan Khatter twitches, smirks and shows cynicism without going overboard. Of course, he appears confident.
Celebrated cinematographer Anil Mehta allows his lens to capture the soul of Mumbai. The city is depicted as a vulnerable character for which your heart bleeds. For those of us, whom Mumbai is a friend, it almost seems as if the metropolis is pleading with us to be ‘freed’ from the shackles of grime and greed. However, AR Rahman’s score doesn’t weave the expected magic.
Beyond the Clouds should be watched to experience how a master storyteller like Majidi can redeem Hindi cinema from drudgery.