Flight 101: Udaan Review

*Contains the entire story. Read only if you are sure you won’t regret not seeing it afterwards. On second thoughts, read it nonetheless.

One of the misgivings that might be nursed before viewing this film is the recurrence of the theme made popular in the recent Amir Khan starrer 3 Idiots that of teens not being allowed to pursue the career of their choice. Udaan is one which actually deals with the corporeality of the adolescent angst and the helplessness to extricate oneself from such a situation; minus most of the Bollywood kitsch we got an eyeful of in the former.

BTW, the music rocks.

The opening frame focuses upon four teenagers surreptitiously giving their hostel warden (Mucchad) the slip to view an educational film named ‘Kantishah ke Angoor’. As the chick on the reel runs seductively on the beach giving our heroes a hard-o..err…time to concentrate on smoking up their fag, when they view an uncle getting cozy with an auntie in the backseat. One of the heroes, temerarious enough, yells “Uncle ji, kya chal raha hai peechhe?” (Citation needed. I don’t really remember the actual dialogue) and then ducks behind his seat. The audience gasps at the next development.

Lo and behold. It is Muchhad.

The Cinemax audience could barely control their mirth at the sight of Mucchad paddling away on his ancient motorbike, overtaking the group which was inching along tagging a hobbling comrade who had sprained his ankle while running. You cannot help but feel an instant fondness for the troupe at their absolute refusal to leave the wounded to face the music. The inevitable happens. Expelled they get.

BTW, the music rocks. We get the first glimpse of the first of Amit Trivedi’s prowess with the opening credits as Rohan is conveyed back at the beckoning of his father.

Rohan (Rajat Barmecha), our protagonist, meanwhile gets introduced as the budding writer, who envisages himself making it big someday. A teen devoid of his mother, he had been sent away to the boarding school at a young age. His father Bhairav, played by Ronit Roy, hasn’t come once in 8 years to meet him. We see the middle aged swashbuckling silver screen stalwart looking ominous as fuck in his black shades as he oversees the disgraced Rohan clamber up the stairs of the Railway over-bridge haplessly towing a trunk.

The movie does slow down a bit here. Almost 15 minutes have passed since someone last uttered a word.

Once in the confines of his house, Rohan discovers a brat emerging from his bathroom. His step brother Arjun, he finds out, is the result of a marriage kept clandestine from him. His second wife too, is apparently dead (dude, wtf did Ronit do to them?) . The brat and the teen indulge in a fight for possession of the room, which is won by Rohan by virtue of the antagonism on his Dad being bestowed verbally in kind on Arjun.

Ram Kapoor who plays Rohan’s benevolent uncle, is overjoyed at his sight. Over dinner, Rohan professes his love for arts, the idea of which is vehemently discarded by Ronit. What follows is the first of the fist fights in the movie. Uncle requests the boy to give his father a chance, and Rohan agrees. Ronit upon returning home lays out a few ground rules. Rohan is to address him as ‘Sir’ at all times, and to follow each and every command he issues.

We see Ronit taking Rohan out for morning jogs culminating with a race to the house(and on subsequent days, winning every single one of them), making him work at his factory, and procuring for him an admission to a local engineering college. Rohan, however, leaves no stones unturned in channelling his irritation towards his lovable step brother Arjun. The claustrophobic ambiance eventually gets to him, and he steals his father’s money, a fag and goes on a stroll with his  car to a local bar, where an initially threatening circumstance involving ragging by his college’s seniors revert and he ends up paying  for their drinks. Rohan and his newfound pals go on nocturnal rampages, beating the shit out of strangers, roaming the city, booze and smoking. Life offers no real solace as the abuses from his father keep raining.

The ‘twist’ in Bollywood parlance is effectual when Arjun gives a physical retort to a classmate breaking his teeth who had been earlier ridiculing him. Ronit is summoned from a business meeting by the principal, and overcome with unbridled rage he pummels the poor kid to a pulp employing the use of his belt as a whip, rendering him unconscious. Arjun is hospitalised, and Ronit leaves immediately for Kolkata on a business trip, telling Rohan to take care of Arjun and not being able to meet his gaze in the eye. Here is where Rohan and Arjun become bros in the real sense, establishing immediate rapport and sentimental succour from the common harassment being meted out to them by their father. Meanwhile Ronit comes back and finds out Rohan had lied to him about passing in his college exams, calling him a coward in the process. Rohan here reminds him of his own hypocrisy.

Ronit, the next day, apologises to both and also tells them about his decision to remarry a third time and to send away Arjun to a boarding school. Uncle intervenes, and offers to take care of Arjun, but is scorned by Ronit, following which he storms out. Rohan fucks up his father’s car to be later imprisoned by the police. As soon as he’s freed, he grabs his bag, declaring his intention to run away from the house. Ronit arrests him but is incapacitated for a moment by a right hook full on the face.

Rohan sprints with Ronit hot in pursuit, and the surge in emotion is unanimous among watchers as Rohan, for the first time, pwns him in the race. He spends a night in Uncle’s house, informing him that he would go to Mumbai to work with his school mates. The next day, he tags along Arjun, and the requirement of a happy ending, albeit dubitable, is met.

BTW the music rocks. Kudos to Azadiya as it plays to a curtain.

Stellar, stupendous performance by Ronit. His character is etched extremely well, that of an emotionally detached father, who too has his moments depicting his moral obligation towards his son, in the scenes where he confesses in a state of inebriation that he had indeed come occasionally to meet him but couldn’t muster as there wasn’t any news good enough, or when he hands over a family heritage in the form of a watch. His aggravation against Rohan’s effeminate nature is made known, which perhaps makes him reminiscent of his first wife. The upbringing he foists on his kids was a result of him being brought up in the same manner, and no other method is deemed fit by him.

Rajat Barmecha, I only wish he could have delivered those dialogues with more decisiveness, more punch. The Chikna look beseems him well for the character he attempted to scale, but completely falls apart at the pub brawl which isn’t very justified unless the director Vikramaditya Motwane was toying with the idea of contrast. Even when angry or happy or sad, his voice just fails to traverse the tonal modulations in order to make that emotion a believable one. The hospital scene, though essential, could have been edited to some extent. Looked like a scene straight out of Munnabhai MBBS when the patients and docs clutter up near Arjun’s bed while Rohan does the raconteur act. I mean, come on man, no doc gets that amount of time to squander, ever.

Uncle Ram Kapoor acted the true agony uncle (?), empathising with his nephew and his dreams. His eyes reflect the understanding of Rohan’s emotions as Rohan struggles to cope with a tyrant of a Dad. It is he who encourages Rohan, urging him to keep on writing and never to let the flight of his imagination to crash.

Child did a great job. The innocent disposition, to a certain extent, gave Ronit’s assholery a more maleficent angle. I personally loved the way he said, “You are diffssgrafssfull!!” emulating his father when Rohan had lost a race.

Cinematography, dialogues, screenplay all rocked. I suppose you read some other review by an experienced critic for the more technical parts. The movie could have had a better look with a cropping towards the end. Check out the brief cameo of the stud Sardar Manjot Singh of Oye Lucky Lucky Oye fame as his school chum, especially his last rejoinder in a raw Punjabi accent, “Abey Muchhad, principal ko bataya kis auntie ke blouse me haath daala tha? “

And BTW, the music rocks.

Outcome? Go watch it d00d!!

And yeah those stars thingy, I give it 4 outta 5. I expect Anurag Kashyap to be grinning ear to ear on hearing this.

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4 thoughts on “Flight 101: Udaan Review

  1. The film is very slow paced.Either sound recording is bad or theater’s sound system because many of the conversation were not audible specially those of Rohit Roy’s. May be single microphone has been used.
    Rajat Barmecha’s acting is very good and promising. No explanation has been given for the father’s behavior (watch the relationship between Sharmila tagore & Nitin Bose in old Hindi movie ‘Anupama’ which was superb). One has to wait for nearly an hour or so for the story to take off i.e. Udaan!

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