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Udaan : Loss of innocence is a heavy price to pay

July 20, 2010

There’s a thin line of difference between our strengths and weaknesses. It’s a matter of perception. The adage – ‘You are as good as you think you are,’ summarizes everything there is to human existence. There are rules which govern our lives. On the contrary, you have to face the truth that you are bound by parameters beyond your control. Ranging from forming a clear vision of what you want to achieve, to fighting against all odds, the parameters could be anything. It’s an invisible force which stops you from flying high. But then, anyone who’s smitten by the zeal to do something in life will tell you what it takes to choose your path. While a chosen few are blessed with stroke of luck, a lot of us have to fight the demons in our head. At some point in your life, the loss of innocence strikes you like a bolt of lightening. For good or bad, you can’t do much about it other than convincing yourself that life isn’t going to be same ever again. It’s a heavy price to pay for you to clear that one last hurdle before you fly high. I know this because I have paid a heavy price. I know this better because life hasn’t been the same since 2007 after I graduated from college.

Couple of years ago, Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par explored this aspect of loss of innocence and the harrowing experience which kids have to go through to fulfill dreams which aren’t their own, in most cases. However, Taare Zameen Par talks about several issues dealing with children from the point of view of a third person. Aamir Khan takes over the role of the sutradhar who explains us (the audience) the whole story including the core problem and solution to the child’s state of being. It ends up being an inspiring film which also teaches a lesson or two. Compare this with Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan, there’s a fundamental difference which shouldn’t be ignored. Udaan doesn’t take the same path of Taare Zameen Par. Moreover the latter film doesn’t even skim the surface of the identity crisis which adolescents, kids go through as much as Udaan does. Udaan ends up being a disturbing film which offers a passage to what happens behind the doors in a dysfunctional family. It’s undoubtedly one of the most important and finest films that Bollywood has made in recent times.

Rohan, a 17 year old is expelled from one of the finest schools in the country. His father who owns a factory in Jamshedpur lives in his own world. A strict man that he is, Rohan and his six year old step brother, Arjun are subjected to severe emotional trauma by their father. He’s an alcoholic who ceases to be happy and ends up venting out all his anger on his kids which reaches disturbing proportions. Amidst the entire trauma, Rohan and Arjun strike an unlikely friendship which is threatened by their father’s impulsive nature. How Rohan deals with the situation forms the rest of the story.

At the core of its heart, Udaan is a coming of age story of Rohan. His seemingly perfect life in a hostel is filled with poetry, mischief and friends who mean the world to him. When he’s expelled, he understands the consequences that he will have to spend the rest of his life with his father. The problem is, he hasn’t met his father for eight years. What’s more frightening is that his father has transformed himself into a demon after Rohan’s mother passes away. The first glimpse of his father B.Singh, which Ronit Roy plays to perfection, tells a lot about their turbulent relationship. His father’s anger and indifference is covered by a veil of sunglasses. In that mad rage, he declares that Rohan will study engineering and also work at his factory. Rohan feels terribly out of place, more so when he discovers that he has a kid step brother, Arjun. Arjun has already been subjugated to his father’s strict disciplinary code instead of being pampered. Is this what happens when there isn’t a caring mother around? Maybe. As days pass by, Rohan understands Arjun’s loneliness and the two are slowly drawn to each other. Rohan’s uncle is aware of what Rohan has been going through and supports his ambition to be a writer. One day things turn topsy-turvy in what already is a volatile world, which eventually leads Rohan to plug himself out of that claustrophobic world. Rajat Barmecha, the actor who plays the lead role is splendid and his intensity in emoting is bound to take him places in his career ahead. The kid who plays the role of Arjun evokes lot of sympathy and laughter, thanks to his innocence which oozes from his eyes and protects him from all forms of criticism, if there is any. Amit Trivedi’s music and Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya’s provocative writing continuously haunts you long after you leave the cinema hall. Vikramaditya Motwane and his film Udaan, might very well be the dark horse in almost every other award ceremony later this year. A brave effort indeed which hits you so hard that you cannot differentiate if you have seen a film or your own life!

Most of the film has been shot in Jamshedpur. The city has everything ranging from a quaint neighbourhood to serene locales where Rohan spends most of his time brooding about his life and poetry. There’s also the grey world set inside the four walls of B Singh’s house which at once gives you an eerie feeling. Amidst this gloom, there’s poetry, friendship, alcohol and cigarettes. Poetry is one of the greatest gifts to express your emotions. I was 16 when I wrote my first poem and despite the blatant amateurishness visible in that poem, I felt good that I wrote something on my own. In the next two years, I had written enough to fill up a small book, some of which are too vague to remember, others forgotten. In a way, Poetry becomes a metaphor for the state of being and only a few understand what emotions those broken words convey. My parents were dumbstruck that I had begun writing and concluded that the bubble wouldn’t enlarge after a point of time. Eight years since that phase of my life, I can safely conclude that they had got it wrong. The bubble had enlarged so much that it had to float in air. After college, the bubble had become a dream and two years since college the dreams have got their own wings. That’s what scares most of the parents. The aimless flight of dreams gives them sleepless nights, because we can’t tell them what our route map is. We don’t know what our destination is and it’s even more difficult to elucidate why we began to fly in first place. In lot of ways, Rohan reminded me of a certain Hemanth who used to struggle his way out of the maze when he was 19. Although the truth dawned upon me that whatever state you might be in, it has a corresponding maze. I was happy that the matrix had been altered and you are out of the fundamental maze called identity crisis. Not that I have completely solved the puzzle, but I am happy that I am constantly trying to erase “crisis” out of the equation.

In the recent few years, Udaan is one film which resembled my coming of age in real life. It’s hard to be objective about a film, especially when you see your own life onscreen. I must add that mine was a perfectly normal and happy family, just that I left my parents too shell shocked about lot of things. Poetry, identity crisis, escaping from reality and films filled my dreams. In the process they made me realize one fundamental truth about life. Life’s too short to live someone else’s dream. In living a dream, I have lost my innocence and paid a heavy price for that. Some people who matter the most to me have lost faith in me and my dreams, not that they believed in them in first place. All I can do now is – prove them wrong. Prove that there’s hardly a difference between the dream world and the real world. Your perspective from which you see the whole maze called life makes all the difference. Fly high and no one can teach you how it can be done. Realization and redemption, that’s what Udaan is all about!


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. anvesh permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:08 pm

    Nice, man. Totally relate to what you have told.

  2. July 20, 2010 5:52 pm

    ohhh. so touching.. I will definitely watch this movie.. hope your dreams also ‘fly’ high.!!!

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