Sunday, November 8, 2009

Review Wake Up Sid

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak and Rahul Khanna
Directed by: Ayan Mukerji
Stars: ***1/2

Siddharth - the new enlightenment

A filmmaker can only convincingly create that world which he has closely seen or lived in. So you have Farhan Akthar and Karan Johar recreating their affluent South Bombay lives in their films, where men and women have little to worry beyond the affairs of the heart.

Wake Up Sid walks the same path, where your protagonist is a lazy brat, spoiled with luxuries and clueless about the practical side of life. The guy gets up late, ignores the elaborate breakfast that is brought to him, keeps partying till the wee hours, is curt to his adoring mother, chomps pizzas and leaves his room in a mess, fails in his exams….

The film has a familiar template and it would have probably been difficult to sympathise with a slothful rich kid like Siddharth (Ranbir Kapoor), — when so many youngsters clearly do not enjoy those privileges —- had it not been for director Ayan Mukerji’s deft and mature handing of the subject.

Mukerji probably feels closer to Siddharth’s universe in real life, but unlike Johar or even Farhan, Wake Up Sid casts a more incisive look into the significant ‘other’ – a largely middle-class society where nothing is easy to achieve and everything comes with its share of responsibility and sacrifice.
Also, the film succeeds in bringing out certain facets of today’s generation. Siddharth’s mother (Supriya Pathak - superb) tries hard to be friends with her son, but her lack of sophistication and struggle with English irritates him and he’s often callous towards her. She gently says to him, ‘Bring some organisation to you room beta’ when she sees it all messed up. This humble background of the mother proves essential later when Sid’s father (Anupam Kher – wonderfully restrained) in an emotional showdown with his son tells him how they’ve come up the hard way to achieve the life he’s taking for granted.

The film stays on an interesting track when Sid leaves his house in anger to stay with good friend, Aisha (Konkona Sen), an independent girl aspiring to be a writer. She’s older than him and treats him like a kid friend. For the longest time, there is nothing but friendship between the two and this is brought out really well in the film. The only wrong note here is Aisha joining a magazine as an assistant to the editor. She argues about this in the film but still it’s not clear how getting coffee and clearing her boss’ (Rahul Khanna) desk would help her in anyway. But that glitch apart, nothing really hits a wrong note in the film.

The narrative is seamless and though there isn’t much action by way of story happening, there’s a definite appeal to the quotidian urban life that is portrayed. The emotional scenes, without slipping into melodrama, manage to touch a chord. It’s after a long time that a mother-son relationship has been so well captured.

Since your sense of probability is never outraged in the rest of the film , the resolution to the Aisha- Sid story appears a bit sudden. You are not entirely convinced they are meant to be together. The last 15 minutes is probably the weakest part of the film.

But again, commendable efforts are made by the writers to bring about a transformation in both characters. To start with, Aisha is enamoured by her ‘mature’ boss, but his intellectual arrogance makes her appreciate Sid’s instinctive, child-like joyousness all the more. She is gently chided by her boss at a Jazz event for not appreciating ‘good music’ and she returns home to see Sid giggling with a kid over a scene from Mr India.

Of course, the film wouldn’t have been what it is without Ranbir. It is to his credit that he brings a fair amount of freshness to a character that has been attempted before (first by Aamir in Dil Chahta Hai and then Hrithik in Lakshya). But there is a difference. Aamir in DCH is a smug character, even if he lives off his father. Hrithik does the same, but in a desultory manner and seems trapped in his sloth. There is self-disdain and self-pity. Ranbir’s character in Wake Up Sid comes closer to Hrithik’s role in the sense that he isn’t proud of the life he’s leading. But one can’t help but say that Ranbir is the more natural actor here, because he easily ‘becomes’ the character. With Hrithik, it was a ‘performance’. Also, compared to Aamir and Hrithik, who played the character when they were in their 30s, Ranbir looks more appropriate age-wise.

This also should count as one of Konkona’s better performances. Rahul Khanna looks far more comfortable in the part of the editor than Bobby Deol could in Dostana.
Ultimately, Wake Up Sidis a wake up call for a class of today’s youngsters who desist from taking on responsibility. It also works out to be a thoroughly enjoyable film.
- Sandhya Iyer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Takes a bad turn.

March 6, 2010 at 5:41 AM  
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