Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
‘Udaan’ flies high
Teen movies in Bollywood have largely been restricted to candy-floss college romance (“Ishq Vishq”) or sporting tales but “Udaan” is a teen coming-of-age tale that defies all these genres and in doing so, touches you in a way that no other film has managed to for quite some time.
The film, an official selection at this year’s Cannes festival, is at heart a simple linear film about Rohan, a 17-year-old who returns home from boarding school to a tyrannical father and a home he hasn’t seen for eight years.
Forced to work in his father’s steel factory, study engineering and abandon his dreams of becoming a writer, Rohan also has to deal with a cold, demanding father who calls him a “bloody failure” and refuses to acknowledge his dreams. He also has to deal with a six year-old half-brother he has never met, but the scenes where the two boys form a gradual bond are some of the best in the film.
How Rohan deals with his dreary life and comes of age is the crux of “Udaan”, but there is so much more this film has to offer. Very few films manage to give you so much in such a simple movie. Every scene is carefully crafted and there are some scenes that won’t fail to touch you. Director Vikramaditya Motwane combines the angst and vitality of youth in an exhilarating manner.
The teen years are so much more than candy floss romances. It is that time of life when you could go either way: choices that may seem insignificant could actually change your life and kudos to the director for capturing that. To be fair, the only flaw in the film is the pace, which slackens a little towards the end.
Of the cast, Rajat Barmecha is brilliant as is Rohit Roy who plays his father. Watch the confrontation scenes between the two to get a sense of how well they have got into the skin of their characters.
Also watch out for a delightful cameo from Manjot Singh, who plays Rohan’s best friend. You might remember him as the younger Abhay Deol in “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye”.
This is one of those little gems, one that you want to root and cheer for, just as you root for Rohan to escape from his drudgery. Watch this one to encourage such brave cinema.