'Rebel without a cause' is a state of mind synonymous with teens
Dir: Vikramaditya Motwane
Cast: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor, Aayan Boradia
What's it about: 'Rebel without a cause' is a state of mind synonymous with teens. They want to do everything that's forbidden, break norms, revolt against authority and act like nothing else but their own freedom matters. But Rohan's (Bharmecha) angst and radical behaviour have a reason. After being expelled from his boarding school in Shimla, he returns home to Jamshedpur only to be greeted by his tyrant father (Roy). Everything changes so quickly for Rohan that even the news of having a little step brother (Boradia) doesn't unsettle him. It doesn't take too long for him to realise that his dad, who he's forced to call 'sir', is using them as punching bags to vent his frustration. An aspiring writer, Rohan is made to work in his dad's scrap factory and pursue engineering. Udaan chronicles the suffocation and dynamics of a father-son relationship as one wants to stifle the other craving to break free and take flight.
What's hot: There's a uniform stream of pathos flowing through the film. Despite the odd bright spots, it's a depressing tale of how discipline and authority can crumple the blooming seeds of youth. Vikramaditya Motwane manages to draw us into the four walls of Rohan's life, as we watch him numb his pain by writing poems, telling tales of valour and adventure to a dying old man, or befriending those who master the art of enjoying life at any expense. The casting is so perfect that watching the ensemble as a whole is a reward in itself. Debutant Rajat has the right blend of vulnerability and anger required to make Rohan one of us. Ronit Roy gives the performance of his lifetime, making you wonder why the actor has limited himself to the idiot box. Despite being inhumane and highly repulsive, you end up feeling sorry for the man. The scene where he lets his guard down after a few drinks to engage in a conversation with his adolescent son is terrific. Child actor Aayan is a find.
Fortunately, he doesn't have to play an annoying screechy kid who acts older than his age. Ram Kapoor impresses. Dialogues are easy conversations that don't bear the weight of anything other than what the characters intend to say. Cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful in an organic way -- buildings, bylanes, puddles, gardens, dingy bars are geniously captured by Mahendra Shetty. But the true champion of the film is Motwane, who like Rohan, is a great story teller. 'Coming-of-age' is an often abused term, but nothing describes Udaan better.u00a0
What's not: The film has moments that are filled with silence and starkness, and which come in rapid succession. So be prepared to test your patience, as the wait pays off. Rohan's track with his friends in the start seems a bit gimmicky given the intensity of what follows. Also the length isu00a0 tricky and the end, a bit too contrived.
What to do: Udaan takes flight from the first frame and soars till the very end. With heartfelt performances, engaging dialogues and beautiful poetry, the film deserves to be watched by everyone who has ever been a rebel.