Apna Asmaan is a 2007 Bollywood drama film directed by Kaushik Roy, and stars Irrfan Khan, Shobana and Dhruv Piyush Panjuani in pivotal roles, with Rajat Kapoor and Anupam Kher in important supporting roles. Khan plays the protagonist, an “everyman” who is discontented with a failing marriage and an autistic son Buddhi played by Dhruv Panjuani. He is constantly blamed by his wife Padmini, played by Shobana, for their son’s condition. After meeting a scientist Dr. Sathya, played by Anupam Kher, Ravi obtains a drug which cures mental disorders from him and injects Buddhi, leading him to become intelligent. However in the process, Buddhi starts to forget his parents and friends, leading to uncontrollable tragic events.
The film was originally planned in 1999 by director Kaushik Roy, who conceptualised the idea from his own child Orko. According the former, the film deals with autism, an issue which is foreseen as a taboo in Indian society. The film made its theatrical debut in India on 7 September 2007, with international premieres held at ReelWorld Film Festival in Toronto, San Luis Cine Festival and Stuttgart Film Festival in 2008. The film received several accolades in various film festivals, notably one German Star of India award and one Gala Dinner & INAP Award.
Apna Asmaan received mixed reviews from critics, who debated the direction and story, but praised the acting, themes and messages about the parents’ over-ambitious dreams inherited to their children. It was cited as one of the most-talked films of 2007, which established the film as art film rather than a commercial film.
Ravi Kumar is a plastic salesman working for Opel Plastics who is enduring a failing marriage. He has a son Buddhi, who is autistic and a slow learner. Because of Buddhi, Ravi and his wife Padmini shares a resented relationship, where she blames Ravi for Buddhi’s intellectual handicap. One day, Ravi watches an interview of a scientist Dr. Sathya, who invented a controversial drug called “brain booster” which can cure mental problems. He comes with a notion to meet Sathya and get the medicine from him. After meeting with Sathya; he gets the medicine and reluctantly injects in Buddhi, which grants him intellectual strength. However, the drug has a side-effect, amnesia in which he starts to forget his parents and relatives.
Thereafter, Buddhi changes his lifestyle and turns out to be extremely popular among his classmates. Despite Buddhi’s arrogant and unruly behaviour, his parents are happy to see that he is normal. But, on the other hand, Ravi learns that Sathya has connections in underworld drug cartel, and he is now wanted by police. After winning a mathematics quiz show, Buddhi is given the title of “Aryabhatta”; and becomes popular in media and receives fame as a “mathe-magician” celebrity. His parents learns that Buddhi is now suffering from dissociative identity disorder, after examining violent activities committed by Aryabhatta. In order to stop Aryabhatta, Ravi and Padmini seeks help of their family doctor Dr. Sen to find out Dr. Sathya for antidote. Dr. Sen tracks down Sathya, who was hiding in an old-age home. Ravi and Padmini retrieve the antidote from him, and Sathya apologises the couple for destroying Buddhi’s life.
One night, In an attempt to inject the antidote in Aryabhatta, he starts to threat and attacks Ravi with the same injection. In order to save Ravi from Aryabhatta, Padmini attacks him and injects him with the medicine, thus calming the latter. The next day, Buddhi returns to his normal self and begins to paint again. His paintings are now exhibited by his parents; thus accepting his talent.