Udaan - Preview

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

Udaan is not justAnurag Kashyap or Vikram Motwane 's life story. Udaan is the story of generations and generations conditioned into thinking that the suffocating expectations their parents endowed on them should be passed on as heritage, if not genetic code to their children. As if, entire lives were ancestral property or an old-old wristwatch - a super-conditional gift that comes with free emotional baggage.

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Anurag Kashyap - the very sound of the name earns a tingle of excitement for any Indian art-house / parallel / non-mainstream / call-it-what-you-like cinema-lover. Arguably even people, who don't necessarily like his work, look forward to films he is associated with, so what if that's in the capacity of a hands-off producer of the film in question, Udaan.

Now if that film happens to be accepted at Cannes, you can imagine the euphoria at the prospect of watching Udaan - even if it were not the first Indian film in seven years to be accepted at the prestigious festival. After all it was in competition with Godard and Oliveira.

Infact, Roger Ebert’s review round-up of the festival says -

But India has one of the world's largest middle classes, and its members spend very little time riding around on elephants. They are, I suppose, something like those we see here, with problems we can identify with.

This acclaim could only be a welcome relief for the writer/director Vikramaditya Motwane, who first wrote this story in 2003. He attributes the 6-year long wait to the regular stuff anyone who's avoiding the standard so-called Bollywood formula -

They wanted to add and subtract things to increase the selling value of the film. Finally, Anurag decided to produce Udaan. He was very supportive and allowed me my freedom.

Incidentally, the story of the protagonist resonated instantly with the then-struggling director, Anurag because he thought it is

I am small town boy, who lived in hostels and have gone through the thoses changes that a small town boy goes through. Vikram is neither from a small city nor did he ever go to a boarding school. Ideally, I should have written that story but it never came to me. Naturally, I felt jealous of Vikram.

Having gone through the most rigorous ordeal of getting finance and censor approvals for his controversial films, he also instantly knew that Virkram wouldn’t be able to make his film any time soon. Now, when the tide has finally starting sweeping his way, Anurag, who calls himself a wheel in the game-changing game, is fulfilling his promise of producing Vikram’s dream, Udaan.

In fact, Anurag Kashyap seems to have learned a few ways to entice the audience even before the release. In the world of do-whatever-you-can-to-get-attention, what better way of publicizing a film that is “realistic” than use real-life example. He is opening up his letter to his parents in 1993 when he left home to pursue his non-standard dreams.

I desired freedom from my parents, freedom to do what I wanted in my career. Since Udaan is exactly similar in theme, I thought I could share my letter to promote the film.

Also, he dismisses the need for a "star" to make a film successful. In fact he goes on to say "our USP is that it doesn’t have Aamir Khan."

But for filmmakers like us, there is a burden of expectations to take a star like him. Aamir is more liberated to let us experiment with his image. That burden of expectations kills the film


Nevertheless, Vikramaditya seems confident that the film will not disappoint his producers.

Since the film was well-scripted, it was possible to shoot it on a very small budget. It shouldn’t be much of an effort to recover that cost.

He's more nervous about the reactions that Udaan will get from the people that matter. Crediting Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who he assisted during his early years in the industry, for all that he has learned about film-making, Vikram is absolutely comfortable in making a film different from his Guru and is eagerly awaiting his approval .

Anurag and Vikram are not the only stars of Udaan. Another star whose work for Udaan is already doing the rounds is music composer, Amit Trivedi. It wouldn't be a surprise if his compositions become an inspiration for generations to come -

I am choosy about what I pick. The script and the story have to inspire me. All the films— Aamir, Wake Up Sid and Dev D were scripts that moved me. Apart from that, the relationships with the people you work with can also inspire you

Meanwhile, there are few music reviews that are not too impressed by the music, yet have good things to say about the lyrics. But, most others have liked to loved it. The graph then, only goes up. While one blogger is completely mesmerized by aazaadiyaa, milliblog thinks the album is a complete knock-out, and dunkdaft is already eager for Amit Trivedi's next.

You can hear a bit here and there while looking at the trailer which brings only one word to mind - honest...

Meanwhile, just so the director doesn't become rich due to clichés, I have until July 16th to dive deep and soar high looking for a 'different' pun.

‘Udaan’ literally means ‘to take flight’. If I had a rupee for the number of times I’ve heard people quip that my first film has finally taken flight, I would be a very rich man.

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This article was first published at meetu's Times of India Blog