In a time when sweet–sixteens are made to play grandmothers on the buddhu–box, Balki does the other way round by thinking out of the box, and cleverly balances the real and character age of Auro. Simply said, Auro (se) Pyaar Ho Gaya…
Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan), an ambitious heir of a businessman (Paresh Rawal) is studying in the UK. He meets Vidya (Vidya Balan), a fellow medical student. Their love blossoms and Vidya becomes pregnant. Amol has a vision to go back to India and reform the stale political scene with his ideas, so he is not ready to get distracted with immediate marriage. He asks Vidya to abort the child, but she goes with her heart. She moves out of his life, goes back to Lucknow to her mother (Arundhati Nag, fondly nicknamed “bum” later by her grandson), finishes her studies and in due course gives birth to a son – Auro (Amitabh Bachchan).
Life goes on and it’s been thirteen years since then. Amol is a successful and honest politician – still bachelor and Vidya is a senior gynaeocologist living with her mom and Auro. The twist in the tale is that Auro suffers from a rare disease “Progeria” which causes his body to age about five times more than his actual age. So at 13, he has a body of around a 70 year old with a mind and soul of a 13 year old. However, he does not have any complex about it; he is witty, intelligent, sharp and very popular in his school. He is friendly to everybody except for a fellow girl student (that’s for a reason). Destiny brings Amol to Auro’s school. Their bonding starts and Auro is curious to know the reason for that. But he has little time to do a lot, as the age is catching up fast…
Firstly, Balki has to be commended to create two unique characters tapping the untouched dimensions of Amitabh’s caliber in his first two films, and keeping his actual age as the foundation for both the characters in one way or the other. Moreover Balki neither goes over–dramatic nor does he force emotional–atyachar on the audience in almost the entire run of the film (barring the sequences of attack on private channels and climax song). Dialogues are short and crisp. P C Sreeram’s camerawork and Anil Naidu’s editing are excellent. Christien Tinsley and Dominie Till deliver a fabulous piece of work for Auro’s make–up.
The scenes written to show peer–to–peer relationships between the characters are very well articulated. Be it any of the sequences – “khichdi and pickle” resentment, Vidya’s outburst on Amol, Bum supporting Vidya and Auro with a hope, the fellow girl chasing Auro and he ignoring her, Amol’s light discussions with his father, Auro’s Delhi visit and one–on–one with Amol, Auro’s telephonic discussion with friend Vishnu and subsequent efforts to make similar comparisons for himself, Vishnu’s problems with Algebra and his unseen ‘Hitler” father, “hichki” code and the final adios, they all are meant to cherish for long. At no point one finds the writer trying to do a detailed explanation on the dreaded disease and earn extra sympathy for Auro, or for Vidya. There is hardly any character (barring the news–hungry media in just one scene) in the proceeding who behaves weirdly with Auro. His school mates are practical and treat him as one of them. These are strong points going in favour of the venture.
Performances: Amitabh Bachchan proves yet again, why he alone occupies the topmost star–actor slots numbered one to ten , and the rest follow from number eleven onwards. It’s amazing to look at the conviction and ease with which he slips into the mind of a child. With extensive make–up he is highly unrecognizable but his eyes, his facial expressions, dropped shoulders and the entire body language speaks volumes of this unique performance. He tones down his “Jaadugar” accent for the role and that works well. Abhishek plays a cross between real life characters of Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Pilot, and he does a decent job. Vidya Balan plays one of the best female lead roles by any actress in recent times. She looks exquisitely beautiful and delivers fine performance portraying a balanced traditional and modern woman of today’s time. Arundhati Nag is fabulous as Vidya’s mother; her expressions are priceless. Paresh Rawal, after “Cheeni Kum”, is again in a small role, but adds good value to the final product. Pratik Katare is hilarious as Vishnu. It should be raining awards for the film in the next few months to come.
Music: After the soothing numbers of “Cheeni Kum”, the maestro Ilaiyaraja is back with another gem of an album having very simple yet meaningful lyrics by Swanand Kirkire. “Hichki”, “Mudi Mudi”. Gumsum”, “Halke Se” and the title song, all are melodious and sung very well.