Movie Review: Apna Asmaan

Direction: Kaushik Roy

Cast: Irrfan khan, Shobana, Druv Panjuani, Rajat Kapoor

Rating: *

‘Apna Asmaan’, by first time director Kaushik Roy is unusual yes, but in a weird way. Would any sane parent, whatever the social or personal repercussions of having an autistic child, allow his/her child to be used like a human guinea pig for an untested drug in a situation that is not a life and death one?

Consider this. Ravi and Padmini (Irrfan Khan, Shobana) are the parents of Buddhiraj (Druv Piyush Panjuani), an autistic child. Buddhiraj had been dropped as a toddler by Ravi, but the film is ambivalent on that being the reason for his mental deficiency. Evidently though, Padmini believes this to be the case and the parents do not have a good relationship. Padmini sees a TV programme in which a doctor (Anupam Kher) claims to have a medicine, one dose of which can get any brain to be a super brain and she begins to dream of administering it to her son.

When Ravi lays his hands on a dose by chance, he administers it even though by now the doctor has been proved to be a fraud and their own neurologist (Rajat Kapoor) advises against it. The boy goes on to become a great ‘mathemagician’ but loses his early memory and his humanity. Now his parents, horrified by the acquisitive, depraved monster they have created, want the old boy back and in a totally ridiculous turn of events actually acquire an antidote, which they give him.

Both medically and ethically this is an irresponsible story and its premise itself gives rise to many questions. Would any parent, and here Padmini who is shown as a caring and nurturing mother, take such a gigantic risk? Should the media even give space to a doctor who makes unsubstantiated claims?

Irrfan as the edgy father, who sells plastic for a living, and Shobana as the helpless mother who sees her son being persecuted, are both good actors who live up to their reputations. Druv, a first time actor is competent too. But the problem is not with the acting, it is with the story and screenplay (Kaushik Roy). Despite your willingness to be moved by the human story you are constantly perturbed by the wrongness of it. Rating: 2

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