1. Because it’s Majid Majidi. His chronicles of humanism, whether it is Father (1996), Children Of Heaven (1997), The Color Of Paradise (1999), The Willow Tree (2005) or the Song Of Sparrows (2008), they all sing a melody of oneness and kinship.
2. The kinship among the downtrodden is always shown to be special and indelible in Majid Majidi’s cinema. Here in Beyond The Clouds, it is the profound bonding between a brother and a sister that gives a centre to the plot.
3. Sibling bonding has been big in Bollywood since Choti Bahen in 1952 and Raakhi in 1959.We haven’t had a vital brother-sister bonding story since Pyari Behna in 1995 and Bandhan in 1998. In Beyond The Clouds, Majid Majidi’s protagonists are siblings played by Ishan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan. And neither has a love interest in the plot.
4. Children have always been handled with rare care by Majid Majidi. Who can forget little Amir Farrokh Hashemian as Ali and Bahare Seddiqi as Zahra in Children Of Heaven? To me Ishaan Khattar’s Aamir and Malavika Mohanan’s Tara are little Ali and Zahra after they’ve grown up. That’s my back story. Not Majid Majidi’s.
5. Speaking of Children Of Heaven, who can forget what the prolific Priyadarshan did to that classic when he transposed it to Bollywood as Bumm Bumm Bhole? Has Priyadarshan given Majidi Majidi a written apology for what he did to Children Of Heaven?
6. Children are vital to Beyond The Clouds. They feature prominently in both Ishaan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan’s individual plot zones. There are two little girls who Ishaan interacts with in the film and Malavika forms a maternal bonding with them too.
7. Coincidentally the two releases Shoojir Sircar’s October and now Majid Majidi’s film have an important character lying comatose in the hospital. While Banita Sandhu as the comatose patient in October is certainly prettier, filmmaker Gautam Ghose all bruised and bandaged and hyper-ventilating is just as interesting.
8. As in Pedro Alamodovar’s Talk To Me, Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick and Shoojit Sircar’s October, the protagonist talks to the comatose patient. But while in the first three films the one-way conversation is soothing comforting and encouraging in Beyond The Clouds Ishaan Khattar is anything but kind to the comatose man. After the things he says I doubt Gautam Ghose will offer Ishaan a part in the sequel to Paar. I mention Ghose’s Paar, because Naseruddin Shah’s daughter props up in Beyond The Clouds playing a nurse.
9. Comparisons with Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire are bound to crop up. Both are films about Mumbai’s underbelly as seen through the eyes of a foreigner. But Majid Majidi knows third-world poverty. He is not a foreigner in that sense.
10. And yes, Ishaan proves himself quite his brother Shahid Kapoor’s Chotu whenever he breaks into a dance. And that includes shadow dancing to A R Rahman’s Muqabla. This is Majid Majidi’s second collaboration with Rahman after the badly-received Muhammed in 2014. Never mind. Even a Majid Majidi makes a mistake.