Udaan review: A movie to savour

Udaan review: A movie to savour

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Saturday 17 July 2010

Movie Title

Udaan review: A movie to savour


Vikramaditya Motwane

Star Cast

Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor, Rajat Barmecha

The film begins with a group of boarding school teens sneaking out to catch a porn film. They meet their warden (?muchad?) in the same theatre. The next day, the four are expelled. We trail the life of Rohan, who has to go back to Jamshedpur and live with his father he hasn?t met in eight years. Owner of a small steel factory, the father married again after Rohan?s mother?s demise, and now has a six-year-old son. As soon as they meet, the 17-year-old and the child fight for ownership of the single bed in the room and the lone cupboard. Rohan immediately bullies the little one and regains ownership of the material objects in the room. But this, he realizes is the least of his troubles.

The father insists the two sons call him `sir?, decides that Rohan who wants to write professionally go to engineering college and join him at the factory and work overtime. He doesn?t like arguments, and after his daily evening drink, cannot control his anger. Beating the children is commonplace, and the emotional abuse is constant.

The film is strong when it portrays the father?s character with a rare maturity. Even this abusive character is shown to have layers of reason and tenderness. He is, for example, absolutely charming in social and work situations, and genuinely believes his hardliner approach is good for the kids. The thing is, he knows no other way to raise children. He has a girlfriend; he?s going to marry again. This layered character is brilliantly performed by Ronit Roy, the icing on the cake. Yes, the same guy you might remember from corny TV soaps.

It?s a real discovery. You admire Roy as he manages this note-perfect performance, so confident in his internalization of the character. Another TV actor who impresses is Ram Kapoor, who gives an immensely convincing performance as Rohan?s sympathetic uncle.

And then there is the little boy ? the step-brother. Again, it?s a potent mix of intelligent writing, casting and bang-on performance. The child is so endearing and wise in his child-like manner, it makes the case against the father that much stronger.

Rajat Barmecha who plays Rohan is an interesting casting choice. And Barmecha understands and displays this character?s angst and a parallel helplessness perfectly. Note his passive aggressive stance with the father, theeyes brimming with anger, and his tearful talks with separated college buddies.

Writer-director Vikramaditya Motwane (writer of Dev D, Goal) doesn?t seem in a hurry to get to the next narrative point. He prefers to revel in individual scenes, a tad self-indulgently. So you have the jogging scene that goes on and on, the pub brawl that continues even in the car as the friends discuss it, or the hospital sequence that appears over-written.

The film starts with four buddies and then goes on to discuss the father-son relationship, with an interesting uncle-nephew track. The only female face you see all through is Rohan?s aunt, who comes on screen for a few minutes. Or still pictures of his deceased mother. Or the clips of the porn film where we see the bikini lady running. Or his new step-mom, who we barely see once. Still, it wouldn?t be fair to label it a guy film, the way films about female character are dubbed chick flicks. It?s illogical to pigeon-hole films into restricting categories.

Some moments appear inconsistent and a bit too cute for a cutting-edge film of this nature. The stuff of fairytales is incorporated here at times, which is disappointing. For example, at the daily morning race with his father, Rohan lags behind by a hair. But in the moment he decides to do something about his life, well, he wins. It?s too convenient a metaphor, one that you can almost predict.

Still, there?s so much in the film truly worth savouring. A pretty cool movie pick this weekend.

Rating: Three and a half stars

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