Story, Screenplay, Direction: Kaushik Roy
Co-Producer: Umang Pahwa
Actors: Irrfan Khan, Shobana, Dhruv Piyush Panjuani, Rajat Kapoor, Naseer Abdullah
Music: Leslie Lewis
New Delhi: How easily a marital relationship can turn into an accusing, finger pointing charade, with love conveniently tossed in a drawer full of have beens. And how almost effortlessly, it also comes back, bringing alive not just people but physical spaces too. Well though this is not the central theme , its a thought that stays with you, much after the curtains are drawn on the film.
Shobhana and Irrfan Khan
In a typical Indian household, a couple’s life still revolves around their child, so much so that the child’s achievements are celebrated as family milestones and in the event of things not quite turning that way, they signal a collapse of eveything that was normal and harmonious in their life.
When Ravi (Irrfan Khan) and Padmini (Shobana) discover their child is autistic, dealing with the situation drives a painful wedge between their own relationship and when Irrfan injects a miracle drug, predictably called a booster shot, courtesy an evil healer played by Anupam Kher, their child responds instantly by turning seemingly normal.
From here begins Buddhi’s (played by Dhruv Panjuani) transformative ‘cure’ into a number crunching, Shakuntala Devi reincranate. Words like human computer are bandied about as he is paraded through KBC kind of sets, showing a superhuman understanding of mathematical calculations.
You have Rajat Kapoor of Bheja Fry fame, cast in the role of a doctor who is supposed to be the conscience of the film. The Director, goes on record to say that they gave him lines, which allowed him to make the theme of the film credible, in that his dialogues had unpronounceable medical jargon which explained the condition before and after the booster shot ! So if you were looking for Rajat to have some funny lines, this is not the film for you.
His prognosis scarily points out that the nerves which controlled emotions and feelings is gradually fading in the young boy, which to the parents explained the highly aggressive, selfish and unfeeling monster that their gentle artistic son was turning into.
Now, its only when the son fails to recongnize the parents, hungering only for the obscene amount of money he makes in reality shows, do the parents realize that every child has his own talents and aspirations. Oh yes, it also takes the doctor reading out Kahlil Gibran’s famous lines on “your children are not your children.......” to make them respect the fact that their child is differently abled and that he must be allowed to reach out and claim his piece of sky, that exists in the universe, like it does for each one of us.
A laudable project, especially since the director brings in personal insights and situations that he has himself lived, the treatment of the film gets a bit theatrical, with extreme situations and exaggerated cliches. Also having roped in the elusive Leslie Lewis to do the music score for the film, does not actually turn out to be the coup it was intended to.