Note : Movie spoilers ahead ..
Its after quite a while that managed to see a movie which made sense and was meaningful. Children of Heaven woke me up to the fact that there is cinema beyond Hollywood and Bollywood which does not jump on the commercial bandwagon and is true to heart. The story is as simple as it can get, revolving around a 9 year old boy (Ali) who manages to lose his sister’s (Zahara) sneakers by mistake. The family is too poor to be able to buy a new pair and hence the kids hide this loss from their parents. Being in a country where school timings differ for girls and boys, they both share Ali’s sneakers wearing them in rotation.
The kids act in the most natural manner, showing maturity far beyond their years which their economic reality has brought on them. One of the most striking scenes is when Zahara is frustrated by the over sized sneaker she has had to wear and damages it while coming back from school. Being defensive she lashes out at his brother and threatens to tell their Dad about him losing her sneakers. Ali on the other hand retorts by telling her that he is not afraid of the berating by his Dad but rather more concerned of his inability to buy new shoes till month end.
The movie moves onto Ali getting an opportunity to participate in a race where the third prize are sneakers. He looks forward to this as his redemption and a way to make his sister’s life easier. His eventual disappointment at not being able to do so and the unspoken sadness between him and Zahara as a result of this are perhaps one of the most beautiful scenes i have ever seen in any cinema.
In a world which gets complex by the day, movies reflect this reality with their ever increasing attempts at better graphics, intricate mind games and crazy story plots. Children of Heaven is a welcome departure from all this. It dwells on simple human emotions, simple values and even a simpler story. Goes right it into my top ten. Thanks, Debs for the recommendation.