Apna Asmaan Hindi Movie Review
You really want to like Apna Asmaan. You want to like it because of its earnestness, because of director Kaushik Roy's intentions- that are evidently noble, because of the sincere performances by the actors, because of the sensitive and relevant theme. Alas, the film is too way off the mark to forgive its poor script, amateurish direction and glaring flaws.
The director tells a story partially inspired by his own family, about an autistic child and the emotional trauma of his parents, who want to make their boy 'normal' and successful. The message the film intends to convey is laudable- that parents must accept their children as they are, and not push children to the limit in their quest to live their own dreams through them.
The film- that has been showcased at some film festivals before its release- starts off pretty decently, and makes you empathize with the characters and their pain. But just as the film barely begins to engage you- it inexplicably disintegrates into an unbelievable mumbo-jumbo mess. The story and events turn increasingly bizarre, and the sheer stupidity of it all is almost shocking.
Ravi (Irrfan Khan) and Padmini (Shobhana) are a young couple whose only son Buddhi (debutant Dhruv Piyush Panjnani) is autistic. Padmini has sacrificed her career and seeks to satisfy her ambitions through her only son, while Ravi bears on him a huge guilt complex as he blames himself for his son's condition, since he had once accidentally dropped Buddhi when he was an infant.
They come across Dr. Satya (a laughable Anupam Kher) on a news channel program, who claims that he has a cure for all mental ailments- which his calls- gulp, a brain booster! Both the parents are absolutely intrigued, and after a meeting with the decidedly shifty looking doctor, Ravi gets the drug and in a drunken bout of madness, injects his son with the drug.
Buddhi wakes up as a normal child, but loses any memory of his parents and past. It is here that the story really goes haywire, with Buddhi transforming into Aryabhatta- a mathematical genius, and ultimately even a celebrity, signing multi-crore endorsement contracts! Aryabhatta, of course is one helluva mean guy, sporting tacky looking leather jackets and an eyebrow piercing, and an attitude to match. He turns into a cruel, vile villain- even disowning his parents, and almost starts to resemble one of those cartoon bad-guys you would normally encounter on Shaktimaan and the like.
Kaushik Das totally loses track and the film unfortunately loses any credibility that it has. The mood of the film is also alarmingly loud at times, so much so that the director often uses the sound of a whiplash to accentuate a dramatic moment. Ouch.
Dhruv Piyush Panjnani puts in a commendable performance as the autistic child in the first half, until his character turns terribly hammy, which in turn sinks his performance, too. Irrfan Khan and Shobhana- undoubtedly very accomplished actors- try their very best and put in good performances, but to little avail. They manage to save the viewer from what could have been pure torture to make this a less painful and somewhat tolerable ordeal, but simply cannot save the hopelessly dismal film.