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Upperstall Review

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Wake up Sid

 

Hindi, Comedy, Romance, 2009, Color





Siddharth Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor) or Sid is a lazy, unmotivated slacker from Mumbai whose world is breezy, carefree, and without any true responsibilities. The most important elements in his life are his friends, his camera, his car, and his X-box 360. Sid thrives around his two best friends, Rishi (Namit Das) and Laxmi (Shikha Talsania), very rarely communicates with his mother Sarita (Supriya Pathak) and takes his father Ram Mehra (Anupam Kher), and all his hard earned wealth for granted. Despite all these traits, Sid is an honest boy; sweet, funny, and above all, a good friend. Aisha Bannerjee (Konkona Sen Sharma), an aspiring writer from Calcutta, learns this soon enough when her path crosses with Sid's on her first day in Bombay, Ambitious, well-read, and driven, Aisha has come to Bombay to realize her dreams as a writer. Despite their contrasting personalities. Sid becomes Aisha's first friend in the city. As Aisha sets up her life in Bombay, with the help of Sid and his gang, Sid allows for time to fly by over long drives, parties that stretch well into dawn, and endless hours doing absolutely nothing. However, a series of circumstances and events compel him to take a hard look at himself and his life...



First and foremost, Wake Up Sid (WUS) marks a decent enough directorial debut for Ayan Mukerji and secondly, the film is made eminently watchable by an absolute brilliant turn by Ranbir Kapoor. No doubt about it, he binds the film together as he goes far beyond his earlier performances in Saawariya (2007) and Bachna Ae Haseeno and proves that he is easily the best thing to happen to Hindi cinema in a long, long time.

That said, you do feel that the script needed more thought. The film, basically dealing with Sid’s first steps in taking on the responsibilities of his life (making his first egg independently to getting his first pay cheque), is much too simplistic and even convenient with very little movement in the first half and though the second half has a little more meat, WUS is overall too laid back and too leisurely paced. In that sense, the film fails to take off as well as it should.

Still, there is enough that works well. The film captures the psyche of today’s younger moneyed generation and their lack of focus rather well. The camaraderie between Ranbir and his friends has an easy, likeable charm about it and reminds one of the crazy things one used to do in one’s college days. The developing relationship between Sid and Aisha is handled reasonably well and it is refreshing to see a younger man-older woman love story handled simply, naturally and yes, actually, without much fuss with not a choo from the neighbours against the single woman and her live-in roomie! The film steers clear of obvious melodrama while the scene where Sid finally reconciles with his father is well played out by both Ranbir and Anupam Kher and emotionally heart-warming.

However, Konkana’s relationship with Rahul Khanna needed far better and mature handling and is, in fact, handled rather clumsily and obviously for her to realize that Ranbir is the guy for her. And of course, the odd logical question rises up once in a while. Ranbir clearly hadn’t studied a bit for his exams and the film seems to suggest he handed in practically a blank paper so why is he so surprised when he fails?

Few actors are as natural and carefree in front of the camera like Ranbir Kapoor and he captures every mood and shade of his character with total confidence. From the likeable and unfocussed spoilt rich kid to the boy forced to get his life on track and accept his responsibilities and become an independent man in the process, he never strikes one false note in the film be it in the comic moments or the more serious dramatic ones. Just see his joy as he finally manages to make his first fried egg or as he sees his by-line in the magazine. To put it simply, he is outstanding. Konkana too is fine but not as free as Ranbir. The effort in her acting shows in places but still, she has her share of moments in the film. Ranbir’s group of friends are good while Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak are reliably efficient though you do feel the effort in the latter’s performance, particularly in her English speaking scenes. Rahul Khanna is just about adequate in yet another special appearance where he loses the girl. Kashmira Shah as Konkana’s sexy neighbour is all right but doesn’t really add anything to the film.

The technicalities are all in place. Special mention must be made of the production design, Anil Mehta’s polished cinematography, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s and Amit Trivedi's (Ek Tara) soundtrack that goes well with the grain of the film and Shan Mohammed’s editing that paces the film along consistently. True, one does feel the length of the film towards the end but to be fair to the editor, it needed to be made tighter at the script stage itself. Using the songs in the background actually works quite well in creating the required mood and when not using songs, the background score is thankfully not overblown as is the trend in most of our films.

All in all, well worth a watch just for Ranbir Kapoor alone. Everything else that works in the film is a bonus.


Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan





 

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