From the opening credits, you know that Paa (2009) is going to be a different kind of film.
Vidya (Vidya Balan) is a gynecologist and a single mother who lives with her mother (Arundathi Nag) and her son, Auro, a very intelligent, creative 13-year-old boy. Unfortunately, he has Progeria syndrome, a rare genetic defect that causes accelerated aging. Because of this, he is bald and looks like he is 60 or 70 years old.
Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan) is a progressive MP who comes to Auro's school to judge a contest. The winning selection happens to be Auro's and the event is broadcast on television which causes a media frenzy about Auro at his school the next day. MP Arte puts a restraining order on the media and becomes interested in learning more about Auro. Soon they are talking online and the 13-year-old arranges to have MP Arte take Auro to see the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's house in Delhi).
A variety of things happen to both Auro and Amol along the way, but the most important is that we discover that MP Amol Arte is actually Auro's father. Amol and Vidya had a passionate romance in college which resulted in pregnancy. Amol freaks out about the potential for a promising future lost for both of them if they have the baby and encourages Vidya to abort the child. She ends the relationship with Amol.
When Vidya tells her mother she is pregnant out of wedlock, her mother doesn't condemn her. She only asks, "Do you want this child or not?" Vidya says yes and her mother stands by her side throughout the pregnancy and beyond. However, Vidya has promised herself to stay out of Amol Arte's life so he could pursue his political career without any "hiccups" along the way.
Eventually, Amol discovers that Auro is his son and Auro is eager to embrace him as "Paa" (Dad). However, Vidya still resents Amol and she doesn't want him to be in her life.
This is where we realize the real message of the movie: Forgiveness. That message is delivered by a classmate that Auro has been avoiding who finally confronts him to say she is sorry for having been scared of Auro the first time she saw him.
"Auro! Stop it, Auro! Yes, I made a mistake ... but it was my first day in school ... and you suddenly appeared in front of me. Yes, I screamed out in fear. Yes, I hurt you. I tried to say sorry so many times. Do you know how much you hurt me? Auro understand, the one who hurts suffers more than the one who is hurt."
Auro is played by Amitabh Bachchan, the father of Abhishek Bachchan and husband of Jaya Bhaduri (who announces the credits at the beginning of the film). Amitabh is 6'2" tall while his son Abhishek is 6'1" tall. At one point Amol carries Auro piggyback across a field - now, that's dedication to the craft. But despite his size and perhaps because of his age, Amitabh carries off the role of a 13-year-old boy with Progeria well. It is very easy to believe that he, as Auro, might have been responsible for writing "'Knock' or I will 'Knock' your head off!" in big black letters on his bedroom door.
As of February 2013, 100 children in 37 countries had been identified as living with Progeria. Statistically, experts believe there are another 100-150 children worldwide living with Progeria that have not yet been diagnosed or identified. The "Find the Other 150" Campaign was established to locate these additional children. Find out more at www.findtheother150.org.
Paa won many awards for the performances and the makeup. In addition, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan won the Star Screen Award for Jodi No. 1. Watch this video of the awards presentation. Enjoy!
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