Enough has been written about the bloodbath at the Mumbai box office this year.
Mexican heroines, painted American presidents, songs shot in pretty places, heroines based on US sitcom clichés (Thou shalt eat a tub of ice cream when dumped) failed utterly to help matters.
As we yawned through one “Let’s-sell-our-film-to-the-world” attempt after another, we even began to wonder if we were better off with those tacky old themes and all-too-convenient storylines.
If the Roshans had fed their heroine to the crocs a la Khoon Bhaari Maang, and of course, ensured the heroine slid out of the water, picture-pretty with cosmetic surgery, would Kites have worked?
This weekend, though, a coming-of-age film about a teenager (A real teenager; not 40-plus men playing teenagers) shook off the boredom and cynicism.
There are many reasons why you should watch Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan.
Sonia Chopra’s review on sify.com calls it a a film worth savouring.
Times of India’s Nikhat Kazmi calls it “a moody, introspective and ekdum different look at teenage angst”.
Anurag Kashyap sees it as a metaphor for the brave new cinema that can rid itself off the baggage of old-world filmmakers and cliches.
Udaan has its powerful performances, its silences, the sounds of the night it captures, its sensitivity in dealing with abusive parents.
You should also watch it for its hero (Rajat Barmecha). And for its two talented actors – Ronit Roy & Ram Kapoor. Such a shame that we associate them only with saas-bahu serials.
But most of all, Udaan gives a voice to the adolescent: The ones who’ve been too awkward for mainstream Hindi cinema.
We’ve caught glimpses of a young Lucky in Dibakar Banerjee’s Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.
And fans of Malayalam cinema will remember the glory days of the very young on screen (The Hariharan-MT team’s Nakakshathangal & Aaranyakam are personal favourites).
But when was the last time you saw a bunch of gawky teenagers who look and speak like gawky teenagers throughout a Hindi film?
Udaan must also be commended for daring to tell a universal story rooted in an Indian town. For bringing alive the best and worst of Jamshedpur: Its steel factories, the garish buses, the seedy bars, statues, secrets, dinner parties loaded with the unsaid…
It’s not often that you catch a slice of the real India at the movies.
Don’t miss this one!