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1Udaan Empty Udaan on Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:29 am


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Only the standardized review format stops me from raving from the very first line. So let me just quickly sail you through the plotline.

Rohan, a 17 year old student studying in a boarding school in Shimla, one of the best in India, is expelled along with three of his friends after they’re caught watching a morally dubious movie by the warden after the permitted hours. He reluctantly finds himself back home to be with his father whom he hasn’t seen in last 8 years while the other three are dispatched to Bombay (Yes, Bombay- that’s what they repeatedly refer it as. Where is the regional patriotism now, Mr. Publicity seeker Raj Thakarey?). Back home, which is in Jharkhand, he’s disillusioned at the unexpected quirk in everything- his life now includes a 6 year old half brother, a long dead step-mother, a prospective step-mother and truncated career aspirations of being a writer. The authoritarian father wants him to study engineering and join him in his factory. (“But…” “Shut up. I don’t remember asking you to speak.”) And thus begins the involuntary rebellion.

Let me make it clear to people here that this movie might not be appreciated as much for the cinematic excellence with respect to technicalities, though there are some fine nuances you can’t help but notice, as it will be remembered for the beauty it has managed to encompass in 2 hours. Hence, the octave at which the awesome mantra is chanted might be subjective.

To revisit those priceless viewing moments make you disoriented as to where to begin chanting ‘Awesome’. If you had to attribute it to something, the only thing that comes to mind is Kashmiri carpet in every sense of the term:

The pace at which it is woven- The movie progression is slow. It is hand woven- The movie is so carefully made; you almost feel the near-sanitary care taken in the making. It develops, nay, blooms with careful precision. All of it is unforced and consistent, the blend every artist craves for- Granting the director a deserving feather in the cap. At the core, there’re squinted eyes and indelible sweat of the workmen- Therein lays the honesty which is almost sacred. In the end, if you’re a real connoisseur, the tears in your eyes make up for the deafening applause you crave to hear. And I kid you not, the feeling is enthralling.

Several things stand out in the movie as far as character portrayal is concerned. Though the protagonist’s job is almost befitting albeit not without a scope for improvement, his controlling father and half brother light up the screen with the despise and endearment they’re respectively supposed to radiate. But they go much beyond evoking mere ‘Ugh’s and ‘Aww’s. The dad stands out because of the script-writer has tactfully observed what not to put in a dark character’s traits. You often see these negative leads being abnormally abnormal to the point that they seem maniacal. Here you see a perfect conflict of perception of affection and disciplined upbringing. Next we come to the little kid who once again triumphs at being human. There are numerous instances in cinema when you see a script-writer in a child character’s behavior, Little Manhattan being a perfect example. The observation is very obvious when they are placed in tender situations, the twins’ behavior in the climax of an acclaimed movie like Bombay after they’re reunited is extremely unchildish, with those plastic hugs and running hand in hand. But the Udaan kid is a winner at being a kid.

There’s a simple camerawork with cinematography concentrating at capturing only the idealized visuals i.e. the locations don’t inspire the event, a delightful change from the expecting-a-jaw-drop visuals. But what is striking is the lighting, or the lack of it. Numerous scenes are illuminated only by a tube-light in the room or a mere bulb or even the diffused sunlight of the cloudy weather. And it might not be the one up the technicians are looking for or are taught to be, but it only aids the realism- one up the film is looking for.

All in all, Udaan is as real as life can get, and not just on the screen. Anurag Kashyap has undoubtedly got the eye to glue others’. His stable continues to breed the finest.

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