It’s not very often that the first shot of a film grips me. It happened with Beyond The Clouds. It’s a very simple shot. A regular morning in Mumbai – the hustle and the bustle. A drug peddler picking up a parcel and leaving for deliveries, around the city. Anil Mehta’s cinematography works like a charm for Beyond the Clouds. The director’s wish to portray the location as a character of his movie sees the light thanks to the proficient work of the ace lensman.
The protagonist is a fun guy. He seems to totally enjoy what he does despite his conditions, dances around and acts cutely goofy. The guy is Aamir – played by debutant Ishaan Khatter. He looks every inch of what he is portraying. Good job with casting and the styling.
Beyond the clouds is a story of human relationships – simply told through the characters of the estranged siblings Aamir and Tara (Malayalam actor Malavika Mohanan), who cross paths and fate reunites them only to separate them again. It is during this rough time though that the writer (Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi, also the director) brings to light how Amir and Tara find solace, alone in the big, dirty world.
Tara lands up in jail. Aamir lands up with the family of the person who is the reason behind Tara being in jail. Reluctant and angry, yet soft and sensitive – Aamir starts taking care of them despite himself.
There’s this scene where Aamir makes breakfast for this family – a grandmother (national award winning actor Sharada) and two little girls. There are eggs… there’s tea…and a dining table. This, after they were rescued by Aamir, from a night under the relentless rain on the road. He starts taking their pictures with his phone, he smiles, the grandmother smiles, the kids look like kids do..when some stranger is taking a picture of them.
I cried. The director manages to express himself through this shot. You don’t need to be blood, you don’t need to be even friends – to feel like a family. Aamir, deprived of one since his parents died, makes the most of these moments. Again, despite himself. It is pure love.
Tara, while experiencing hell in the jail, also finds her piece of sanity in the face of a little boy called Chotu who is a fellow inmate’s son, an inmate who finally dies leaving Chotu in Tara’s care. Endearing beyond words. Purest love. The bond between Tara and Chotu is beautiful.
When there is despair, uncertainty, hopelessness and helplessness – what saves you from yourself is nothing but Love. The one that’s intrinsic – the one that is just human.
Beyond The Clouds is not a first just for Ishaan Khatter, it is also the first step of Iranian Filmmaker Majid Majidi in the world of Bollywood.
Deepika Padukone gave a look test for the role of Tara.
Ishaan Khatter won the best actor for Beyond the Clouds in the International Bosphorous Film Festival in Turkey. The movie was also nominated in the Best Film category in the London Film Festival 2017.
This is Malavika Mohanan’s Hindi film debut.
Watch it for Ishaan Khatter. Born to act, born to shine.