wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
~ ~ ~
This article was first published at meetu's Times of India Blog
- meeta, a part of the audience
'Failure', 'Red mark of the family', 'Good for nothing' (naalaayak), 'Disgraceful' - Many of us must have grown up (or are growing up) with these words being used, often, instead of your name. Of course, we didn’t enjoy it then or relish the memory now. Yet we wanted to be, neigh, needed to be in their good graces, irrespective of our definition of 'grace' or honor. Udaan is our life on screen. Even if you were one of many who boasted the 'best child of the universe' badge, you knew someone who was living through hell. You get the point? Watch it either way. :)
Update: Theaters this weekend are shouting out to be booked and more. While Udaan touches the heart, Tere Bin Laden is some serious laughter magnet. Lamhaa loses out on novelty value and even more so in this august company.
It's not like we haven't seen this story earlier. Amitabh Bachchan in Kabhie-Kabhie played Amit Malhotra who gave up his aspirations to be a poet and filled his father's shoes in the family business. Vicky rebelled against his dad in Sharaabi for similar reasons. But in these films, this aspect was a backstory, a small part in the whole scheme. Udaan's beauty is that, this facet of humanity or lack thereof IS the story.
And our story's hero, you and me is iconized by Rajat Barmecha. He's our suffering creative soul, Rohan Singh. The young debutant might not have a whole range of expressions at his disposal. But whatever he has, including his fresh, deep voice, is enough for a housefull theater to go, "dude, no-no, don't do that you'll get caught" or egging him to fight back against the arbitrary injustice. It could be Rajat's acting or the result of a strong narrative. Or it could just be the fact that we identify with him; or a combination of sorts.
It could be his acting capabilities that gets the audience to cheer for Rohan when he slaps the wrong-doer. Or it could be the brilliant, arrogance portrayed by Ronit Roy; or the intolerable claustrophobia Ronit's character, B. Singh causes. All these elements work towards the goal of making a film with one powerful scene after the other.
I watch an average of 6-8 movies a month, most of them in a theater. I can vouch that it ain't easy to get an ovation from people who have been in their seats for over 2 hours, watching a reasonably slow proceeding of events in a 17-year old boy's life. This despite, having two groups of dimwits cackling intermittently.
This certainly wasn't because of what was on the screen, just bunch of inconsiderate film 'watchers'. This is relevant for an assessment of the film. Because in a serious film with strong sequences that are meant to develop both characters and relationship, it can be annoying and thus distracting to be interrupted by such hooting. And that the rest of us enjoyed the film despite this says a lot about the screenplay.
The same reason applies to missing holes in the script. I wanted to know more about B. Singh. I am usually not the kind to demand too much backstory; I like the guessing and self-second-guessing. But here I needed a little more or maybe it's just that the everyday film has conditioned me into wanting a justification for the way things are. Me, the common man, needs a God to justify a part of how things work, and cannot accept the randomness of nature.
Yep people, this is one of those films for which I'm ready to take blame for what I don't like. Anurag Kashyap, sir, your investment will bear fruit. If not immediately, consider it a part of buying during 'recession', this bud will blossom in the long-run. Not that you needed my reassurance, your product says it all.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...Poignant, unsettling and disturbing, UDAAN is a brilliant take of an adolescent who has stepped into his teens and how he faces a tyrant father, a step brother he never knew existed ... full review
Thumbs up, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...Motwane gets everything right, from the characterisation, casting, locations and dialogue (the dialect of small-towns in Central India seems perfect) to the dynamics of individual moments... full review
Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ... The greatest strength of the movie, despite its rough ends, is its lack of artifice and the director's unrelenting pursuit of his story without taking recourse to any kind of escapism in order to make the bitter pill more palatable. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Ajit Duara , Open Magazine : ...The empathetic bonding that then takes place between the teenager and the six-year-old, linked by the umbilical cord of a monster father, is the stuff that good cinema is about.... full review
Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...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 ... full review
Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...Amit Trivedi’s music is excellent. ‘Azaadiyaan’, ‘Geet mein dhalte lafzon mein’, ‘Kahani’ and ‘Naav chadhti’ are both, meaningful (lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya) and melodious. ... full review
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Yay! Thumbs Up, by Kalyan : One of the best movies (and music )of 2010.
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Yay! Thumbs Up, by PIYUSH : HEART TOUCHING
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
17-year old, rebel and notorious, Rohan Singh (Rajat Barmecha) faces his highly disciplined and extremely disconnected father after eight years. His battle for his passion and aspirations is one long run.