Whenever I write a piece on a film, after having watched it, it’s more of my feelings, my thoughts rather than an authoritative review of a film. I don't think through what I want to write. I just start and things flow. But today after watching Udaan, I am wondering what I should start with. The poignancy of the moment engulfs me. My thoughts are not taking flight, they are bound by the film itself.
Udaan as a title is perfect, because a caged bird always thinks of the Flight of freedom. The angst of being bound in a life that’s worse than hell gives birth to the angst of flying away. And Udaan is about 2 innocent lives caged within the confines of their minds. It’s the story of realization, human spirit, freedom.
Rohan, a boy who has spent the last 8 years of his life in a hostel, returns home when he is expelled from the institution. He returns home to his bad-ass, cigarette smoking, bitter, abusive disciplinarian father, who hasn’t visited him even once in the last 8 years. He also comes home to a brother he doesn’t know exists. He wants to be a writer, but ofcourse, his father wants him to be an engineer. And then starts the suppression and then the revolution. He is forced to run in the morning, go to the factory, go to an engineering college. What he longs for is love, but the father keeps pushing him away. But it’s not just about that. It’s much more complicated. The boy is not as innocent as he looks he is. The father is not as superficial as he seems to be. The characters are layered, peeled one layer after another.
What is so heart-warming about this film is the story, co-written by Motwane and Kashyap. Not the usual run of the mill third grade stuff that comes out of Bollywood. It’s a real story about real people in real situations. It’s about relationships, about the travails of life, the frustration of being bound and the doggedness of human spirit. There is no black and white. Its grey, like life. It does not make any declarations, but it gives us sentences to decipher our own meaning. The characters are not one-dimensional. They have depth. There is no hero-giri, no easy answers, no melodrama. What happens is believable and logical.
The effect that the movie has is also due to the treatment given to it by director, Vikramaditya Motwane. He lets it unwind slowly, cautiously, driving the nail in, building the tension so that you can feel the emotions. You flow along, clutching the seat, hoping that they fly away. The Camera work captures the emotions, infact enhances them, beautifully. And a special mention to the background score, which elevates the tension, the tribulations, the travails and the triumph. The songs are apt and the dialogues are meaningful.
The casting seems to be perfect as Ronit Roy excels as the complicated, abusive, hot headed father. He looks menacing and goes into the flesh of the insanity of the character. He plays this man who is disciplined, yet so on the edge, beautifully. The main lead, Rajat Barmencha, starts off a little sheepishly, but as the film goes along you can see him bloom and grow in confidence. He has done an exceptional job in portraying the angst of a boy who wants to spread his wings and fly. Ram Kapoor as the chacha is perfect and Aayan Boradia as the troubled younger brother is lovable. All in all, a solid ensemble cast.
Yes, the movie takes its time to unfold in the second half, as the screw is tightened ever so tightly ! The tension keeps increasing and you know that things could snap at any time. But the finale comes much later. Maybe it could have been trimmed a little bit, but I think the pace elevated the mood. The director did not make any compromises with his vision. He let everything take its own time. Maybe at the time of viewing some shots it would seem like the director is unnecessarily eating up footage, but it makes an impact in retrospect !!!
I wish I could have seen this movie and recommended you to see it, earlier. But beware it is not a very easy movie to see, it’s tense, realistic. So venture if you have the guts to taste a slice of life. Venture if you want to witness the triumph of human spirit. Take a leap … Geronimo !!
Rating : 8 / 10