Tuesday, January 25, 2011

#40: Udaan


I first came across Vikramaditya Motwane in a special feature on the Dev D DVD whereby he along with Vikas Jain of UTV movies and Anurag Kashyap were talking about the making of the movie. In those snippets, VIkramaditya Motwane came across as a person who is very sure of himself and what he is doing. In the DVD, he was mentioning the process of re-working on the drafts for the final shooting script. That first impression was that of a person who not just knew his craft but would also go a mile in backing himself against odds for going with an underdog of a story.

Befittingly, less than a couple of years later, Anurag Kashyap and Sanjay Singh backed him for an underdog of a story with no stars. Udaan is the story of a teenage boy (Rohan played by Rajat Barmecha) who wants to nurse his ambition of becoming a writer much against his father's (Ronit Roy) wishes. It's a story that Anurag Kashyap backed because it's said to have certain sections that reminded him of his own struggle at home to convince his family that he wanted to become a writer and nothing else. The beauty of this movie is the conflict between the father and son in this simple storyline. The screenplay is so faithful to this central plot that at no time do you see any deviation from this. The conflict between the two escalates, thaws, goes out of proportion and ebbs during different times but is always at you. As a viewer you get pulled in by these two characters and their reasonings so strongly that the absence of a big star doesn't affect you.

Coupled with a superb background score and some brilliant numbers such as the inspiring Kahaani Aankhon Ke, the story moves you during it's critical scenes. While Rajat Barmecha's earnest portrayal touches you, Ronit's stern act as the father reminds you of that elder someone who must've bullied you once in your life. Some of the scenes of argument between the two are filmed with a sincere mould of realism. The supporting cast consists of the father's younger brother (another small screen veteran - Ram Kapoor) who supports the boy's aspirations and the teenage boy's kid brother (Aayan Boradia). Two other brilliant actors play small roles as the teenager's friends- Manjot Singh ( Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye) and Anand Tiwari ( The President is Coming, Kites). As characters, not only do they act as bouncing boards for Rohan's repressed emotions but also provide some comic relief in this serious drama. The movie could've done better with a slightly more quickened pace and a more realistic ending. The slow tension that's building up at times tended to stretch for long periods.

Having said that, there's no doubt that Udaan is a fabulous catch. The one thing that I cherish most about the movie is that in spite of being a movie about dreams and aspirations, it doesn't have a fairytale ending. I will end this review here with a bit of a tease. We all know about Iqbal for example, but what about those who don't get their debut in the Indian cricket team at the end of two hours in a movie. There must be a story for those who didn't as well, right? Udaan is that wonderful tale.

Rating: 7.6/10