Udaan poster


wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

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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Running time: 140 minutes
More Movie Info

Udaan - Preview

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.

~ ~ ~

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

42 reviewers(?) - 37 yays 3 so-so 2 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, Asian Age : ...director Motwane and his mentor Anurag Kashyap have played their respective roles brilliantly.... full review

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...First of all the film is not preachy as it may seem to be from its look and promos.... full review

Thumbs up, by Roshni Mulchandani, Bolly Spice : ...The film belongs to the actors and in particular Rajat Barmecha... full review

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 Bollyfan, Cinemaa Online : ...Rohan’s bottled angst and rebellious streak is brought out very effectively through the opening sequence... full review

Thumbs up, by Priyanka Ketkar, DearCinema : ...The movie is brilliantly shot and the scene transition is also pretty smooth... 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, by Vivek Bhatia, Filmfare : ...Courtesy Amit Trivedi the music is another high-point of the movie.... full review

Thumbs up, filmi cafe : ...Ronit Roy makes us wonder where he was for so many years and why he was wasting his amazing acting talent in Saas Bahu serials... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Sabnani, Glamsham.com : ... its simple yet heartrending & relatable story... full review

Thumbs up, by Aakash Barvalia, Gomolo.in : ...Cinematography by Mahendra Shetty was good, especially in all the Ronit Roy’s scene, Dipika Kalra’s editing was also good... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...Very few films manage to have such effect on their audiences; fewer audiences still prefer such violent checks on their own reality.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...The film's dialogues by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane are sharp and mesh in well with the scenes... full review

Thumbs up, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...dysfunctional families rarely make an appearance in Bollywood... full review

Thumbs up, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...the empathy with this apathetic hero is unmistakable and deeply felt.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...But the proceedings keep you riveted because the routine is as much unusual to the viewer as much to Rohan. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Kshitij Mehta , J.A.M : ...Udaan is a sensitive ride that all must experience.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...A dense energy of rage and resentment hang in this home.... full review

Thumbs up, by Tushar Joshi , MiD DAY : ...Fortunately, he doesn't have to play an annoying screechy kid who acts older than his age. Ram Kapoor impresses... full review

Thumbs up, Mixed Bag : ...the fine-grained screenplay and the effortless acting made every single moment of the movie deal an emotional equation with the audience. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sid, More Than Films : ...tinged with the bitter-sweet emotions of life as we know it... 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 IANS, NDTV : ...Udaan will not only resonate with those who had a troubled childhood, but with anyone who has faced oppression, or ever nurtured dreams.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kaushik Chatterji, No Quarters : ...Very different from the usual and a purely multiplex release, but mainstream nonetheless... 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 ~UH~, Passion for Cinema : ...Udaan is an in-your-face film about adolescent aspirations and conflicts of tier-2 India... full review

Thumbs up, by Magik, Passion for Cinema : ...After watching Udaan, I can understand my dad’s predicament much better... full review

Thumbs up, by Neeraj Ghaywan, Passion for Cinema : ...In that momentary pause you see eight years of his angst... full review

Thumbs up, by Padmaja Thakore, Passion for Cinema : ...The film makes it too easy for you to hate the father and sympathize with the son... full review

Thumbs up, by Arati Raval Pandey, Passion for Cinema : ...But as the reels unraveled, at it’s own leisurely pace, we were gripped. The usually chatty girls weren’t blinking.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma , Rediff : ...refreshingly distinct and unyielding... full review

Thumbs up, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...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... full review

Thumbs up, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...some sensitive and humourous moments... full review

Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...The kid never allows the more seasoned actors to dominate him.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nova, The World As I See It : ...The character of Ronit Roy in the movie has sooo many different layers to it that it leaves you baffled!! ... 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 up, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ...Shot on 16 mm, the film struggles technically at times but its flaws are very much in sync with its theme.... full review

So-So, by Usha Lakra, Apun Ka Choice : ...amidst all this heap of praises, the movie’s creeping second half can test your patience... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...the father’s weird character remains unexplained and somewhat incomplete... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Film Impressions : ...At some point one began to see why the father said, 'Before you fly learn to walk.'... 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

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

9 readers - 7 yays 1 so-so 1 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by to

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Income Support Complaints number

Yay! Thumbs Up, by I Need The Ebay Contact Phone Number

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Kalyan : One of the best movies (and music )of 2010.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by kumawat : 70

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Mansi


Yay! Thumbs Up, by Terese

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Orange Customer services

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

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.

What Worked

  • Background music and sound design
  • Some of the keen observations and their translation into words whether it was everyday language or poetry.
  • B. Singh's (Ronit Roy) vulnerability exposed
  • B. Singh's inability to express or communicate.
  • The fact that the details of the bar-fight story wasn't given importance. The focus was on the bonding.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Rohan's hospital fan club
  • Where does the aunt vanish off in the second half?


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Rohan's t-shirts had really cute graffiti

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: One fist fight, father beating his kids
  • Language: Abusive language used intermittently and a couple of crass lines
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Characters watching a porn film and a couple of scenes from the film.
  • Concept: Parents living their lives through their children such that the child has no say about his life.
  • General Look and Feel: Its grim and grainy.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Udaan - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Music Director:
Running time:
140 minutes

Comments (6)

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@Swapnil there you go! and **fingers crossed**

Heartening run starting with the warm-up that Red Alert was...isn't it? I simply loved Udaan.

I do have a slightly different viewpoint on B.Singh's character. I feel that enough hints were dropped about the reasons behind his bitterness. ***MILD SPOILER ALERT***The dinner table conversation between father and son at J.Singh's place, the tattoo on his upper arm, the setting in which Rohan packs his bags towards the end, the couple of scenes where the parent in him comes out.***END OF SPOILER*** I feel all that was good enough for a cursory backstory and an explanation of the character.

I am yet to watch this movie..hope to watch it this Sunday..excellent reviews for this movie..!!:)

wow this is amazing movie its reviews and all story is very good

One of the best movies of the year! Beautiful story, killer cinematography and wonderful acting and to top it all, one of the best OSTs of the year. No doubt you gave 5/5 to the lyricist. Glad to have seen this on the big screen. I hope it wins some awards, which will encourage more directors to make such movies.



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