It's difficult to strike a balance if you sail in two boats. APNA ASMAAN tries to do that and ends up being neither here [appealing to lovers of serious cinema], nor there [appealing to those with an appetite for commercial fares].
Debutante director Kaushik Roy chooses a serious theme to begin with and you expect him to stick to realism as the story unfolds. But somewhere, in between, the film changes lanes and moves away from the core issue. What it sets out to narrate [a moving story of a young boy] and what it eventually narrates [the ills of wealth] come across as two different stories packed in one film.
In a nutshell, it's the writing that lets the film down, yet again. How one wishes Roy would've stuck to the serious issue, instead of spicing up the proceedings in the second hour.
The movie is about today's urban aspirations as represented by a young couple living in Mumbai. The wage earner [Irrfan Khan] works in the field of plastics. His wife [Shobhana] gives up her early promise as a classical dancer in order to settle into marriage, which is threatened when their only son [Dhruv] turns out to be autistic.
His condition distances the parents, the father torn with guilt and the mother craving success points from him. But a drug works wonders on the boy, but at a severe cost.
APNA ASMAAN mirrors certain truths. You identify with the goings-on initially. The portions involving the child and the anxiety of his parents are captivating. The sequence of events that lead to an angry Irrfan Khan injecting the 'Brain Booster' to his son is the highpoint. But things deteriorate the moment the son opens his eyes and become a genius within minutes. Now what was that?
That's not all! He becomes a great mathemagician and starts indulging in all kinds of vices. He even disowns his parents. That's where the writing goes haywire. How and why does he get such negative traits are left unexplained.
The end too is bizarre. The culmination to Anupam Kher's character, plus the son being administered the antidote and the sequences thereafter are difficult to absorb. Actually, it seems quite bizarre.
Director Kaushik Roy knows the technicalities right, but it's the writer in him that lets the director down. Music is strictly okay. Cinematography [Barun Mukherjee] is alright.
Irrfan Khan is good, not excellent -- something that's expected from him, keeping his body of work in mind. Nonetheless, he's brilliant in the sequence when he loses his temper and injects the booster. Shobhana does a fine job. Anupam Kher's character is half-baked. Rajat Kapoor is sidelined. Dhruv is loud.
On the whole, APNA ASMAAN has precious little to offer.