At first glance, the trailer of noted Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s new film, Beyond the Clouds, is reminiscent of the award-winning, Slumdog Millionaire. One is tempted to dismiss it as yet another voyeuristic foray into the underbelly of the ‘Maximum City’ by an outsider. However, one soon realises, that for a consummate auteur like Majidi, there can be no distinction between the familiar and the ‘Other’ in terms of countries, cultures, languages. This is because, if there is one area in which Majidi is wholly at home, it is the realm of human emotion and relationships, wherever it might be. And that is exactly what he sets out to explore with this story about the bond between two siblings, the city serving as a backdrop for the most part. He has done this with utter finesse in earlier works like Children of Heaven and The Colour of Paradise.
Majidi has a penchant for realism in his depiction of people and places, so one can look forward to watching events unfold on screen, all the while feeling a part of them. The glimpses of the performances by lead actors Ishan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan are replete with promise. While the former shows no trace of living in the shadow of his elder brother (Shahid Kapoor), the latter is making her first foray into Hindi cinema after having worked in a number of Malayalam films. Coincidentally, the lead pair play siblings in another film releasing later in the year, so it will be interesting to watch how they adapt the dynamics of their on-screen relationship to the demands of two vastly different stories.
Beyond the clouds is lent additional heft with dialogue written by the inimitable Vishal Bharadwaj, who has the knack of breathing life into any role with his words. Of course, for the whole two minutes or so that the trailer plays out, one is constantly conscious of the presence of something that has, in the past, served as a character in itself- the music of A.R. Rahman. With everything in place to make it one of the most-awaited films in recent times, one only hopes that its success paves the way for greater and more meaningful confluence of Indian and world cinema.