Cast: Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan, Gautam Ghose, G V Sharada, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Director: Majid Majidi
‘Beyond the Clouds’ is an intriguing tale about two siblings trying to negotiate an unfortunate turn of events. As they struggle to find a way out of their misery, the accidental associations they form make for some compelling moments.
Amir, played admirably by Ishaan Khatter, is on the run after a drug bust and seeks shelter at his sister’s place. Things get complicated when his sister Tara (Malavika Mohanan) is arrested for assault after she tries to avert a rape attempt against her.
Though they have been estranged for a few years, orphans Tara and Amir have only each other for support.
Chased by the police and his former criminal associates, Amir tries everything in his capacity to procure bail for his sister. While Tara seems to have managed to learn survival tactics in the outside world, in jail she is ill-equipped at handling the situation and dreads what might befall her in custody.
Majidi is most skilled when he is weaving the tale of the relationship that Amir forms with the family of the man assaulted by his sister. It is a complex relationship with real issues and conflicts, but it is also a very human connection that a young boy forms. Amir, who has just found a way to make easy money through not very fair means, is not really a hardened criminal. In fact, he charms you when he becomes a caregiver for the family of the man responsible for landing his sister in jail.
In prison, Tara, maternal by nature, becomes a foster caregiver for a little boy. Chotu’s mother is unwell and sentenced to life for killing her drunkard husband. This little boy has been living in jail with his mother since he was a three-month-old. Such is his existence behind bars that he has no idea what the moon looks like when Tara tells him a story.
Moments like these transport the film to another level. The dynamics between the siblings, however, seem tenuous and fail to convince you of the extent of their desperation.
Majidi is at his best when he uses the interplay between light and shadow to portray some tender moments between the child actors.
Debutant Ishaan deserves a special mention. He personifies innocence with an edge – empathetic and yet always eliciting a fear of what he could be capable of when pushed to a corner. His performance makes you sit up and take notice.
‘Beyond the Clouds’ is definitely worth a watch. If nothing else, Ishaan Khatter’s character will make you want to believe in goodness and humanity.