Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Wake Up Sid: A whole new formula film
Bollywood has always survived on the formula — the elusive secret to making a successful film that combines elaborate sets, melodrama and of course, dancing around trees. Then multiplexes arrived and we were told it was the era of niche films, ones that didn’t go by the formula.
Films like “Wake Up Sid” are well on their way to becoming a meeting point between the old and the new, and becoming a whole different genre of films — the formula multiplex film.
Now that the multiplex audience in India is such an important part of the movie going public, there are a lot of films being made with them in mind and most are now beginning to stick to a formula.
Have an urban hero (preferably young) confused about life, throw in some college scenes, smart dialogues and a disco scene or two.
Make the aesthetics such that they appeal to the yuppie audience and there you have it — the formula to make a multiplex film.
Let me also add a disclaimer here. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to make a formula film. After all, many of Bollywood’s biggest hits have followed the formula but they have also had that something extra. “Wake Up Sid”, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma doesn’t always pass that test.
Kapoor plays Siddharth Mehra, a spoilt rich brat who has no aim in life except — do nothing. He meets Aisha (Konkona Sen Sharma), elder to him and in search of “independence” in Mumbai. The two soon strike up a friendship.
When Sid fails in his exams and his father decides to crack the whip, our protagonist decides he is better off living on his own. He lands up at Aisha’s house, hoping to make it in the real world, but soon realizes he isn’t equipped for it at all.
As a coming-of-age film, this one has its moments and first-time director Ayan Mukherji manages to inject the film with a lot of moments that make you smile. However there are also times when you feel the film could rise above the average but doesn’t.
Of the cast, Ranbir Kapoor is excellent, really getting into the character, bewildered expressions and all. Konkona Sen Sharma is also efficient but doesn’t dazzle as she usually does. Special mention of Shikha Talsania as Sid’s friend Laxmi for a spirited performance.
“Wake Up Sid” isn’t necessarily a memorable film, nor is it an original one. But it is good for a one-time watch over the weekend, which is a lot more than what Bollywood has dished out over the past few weeks, so I would say go for this one.