Starring: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor, Manjot Singh
Direction: Vikramaditya Motwane
Udaan is unconventional Bollywood at its biting best. The film is a moody, introspective and ekdum different look at teenage angst: an issue that has never been given the importance it deserves in Hindi cinema which has by and large relegated the 16-something story to teeny-bopper rolls-in-the-haystack romances.
But Rajat Barmecha’s Rohan isn’t your run-of-the mill Hindi film teenager. He has more substantial (read realistic) problems than to find a girlfriend and discover sex, even though his dad does ask him — in a delightful sequence — sex kiya ki nahin?! For him, the issues are mostly existential….Like, how does he cope with a father who seems to be a clone of Hitler; how does he pursue his dreams of becoming a writer, when disciplinarian dad insists he must join him in the factory; how does he learn to love a step brother he doesn’t even know; how does he get back to a family that doesn’t exist; and how does he adjust to a small town with its uneventful life and its middle-class morality.
Udaan is essentially a performance-based film that scores mostly in the characters it dabbles with. Ronit Roy’s cold and emotionally stunted father-figure, bogged down by middle-class fears and obsessions about a `secure’ no-nonsense future for his son is actually quite familiar. Even as Rajat Barmecha’s dreamy, rebellious teenager who wants to escape rut and routine, is representative of the hundreds of youngsters who have run away from authority and an uninspiring future, with nothing but a pocketful of notes and a heartful of dreams. Add to this, Rajat’s younger brother, a victim of domestic abuse, his understanding chacha (Ram Kapoor), and his bunch of edgy friends (both in boarding school and in the dead town) and you have a compelling character study of growing up in middle-class mofussil India.
Hailing from the Anurag Kashyap school of cinema, Udaan has the edgy feel and the bitter sweet emotional core characteristic of India’s neo wave cinema. No, life ain’t all ha-ha-hee-hee and families that eat together don’t always stay together, happily-ever-after. There’s a lot of rough-and-tumble-beneath the gloss and that’s where all the real drama actually lies. Get down to some real business. Enter some real homes. Grapple with some real problems. And feel some real joy..