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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Roger Ebert on Udaan

Although India has the world's second most active film industry, "Udaan,"by Vikramaditya Motwane, is its first competition entry in seven years. It's well made, involving, but (to my eyes at least) not particularly Indian. This story could have been set anywhere; it doesn't depend on location, but on personalities.
The hero, Rohan (Rajat Barmecha), is the son of a manufacturer, sent into storage for eight years at one of Indian's best boarding schools. He and his high-spirited friends get caught after hours in a cinema, he's expelled and sent home, and discovers only at that point that his father remarried, the marriage "didn't work out," and he has a young half-brother.

The father is a tyrant with no gift for parenthood. The son is determined to be a writer. The father won't hear of this. I hear the same thing over and again from Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Indian friends: If you want to do something artistic with your life instead of being a doctor or scientist, etc., you risk being disowned.
The story is told with force and conviction, and the Indian TV actor Ronit Roy is scary and effective as the father. The character isn't a sadist and martinet because he enjoys it, he conveys, but because he considers it his duty. Apparently he was shaped that way in childhood, and his son is lucky that boarding school spared him the same fate.
Perhaps when I say the film isn't especially "Indian" I am expecting something more exotic. But India has one of the world's largest middle classes, and its members spend very little time riding around on elephants. They are, I suppose, something like those we see here, with problems we can identify with.
note:
I cant comprehend Eberts ideas of exotic India, but am happy the film is receiving a positive buzz.

3 comments:

srujan said...

Hi Sir,

Please check this when you have time.
http://ask-dreams.blogspot.com/.
if at all u have any chance of taking a AD or assistant in your project, please give me a chance.

Faiz Ullah said...

i wrote this another another context...but i think it has relevance in this debate...

"Having global ambitions is alright. But playing in the global arena requires local competencies. Cinemas from several countries are celebrated and appreciated on global fora because of their varied flavours and not because they kowtow to the overarching Hollywood sensibilities. That Tim Burton led jury at Cannes gave the Palme d’Or to a Thai film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’ is proof enough that the term ‘glocal’, contrary to what many social scientists might like us believe, is just a glib conjecture. Local is global. Burton defended the choice by saying that “the world is getting smaller and films get more westernised or Hollywood-ised and this is a film for me that I felt I was watching from another country, from another perspective.”

In a country where 4 million people alone work in the gulf and rarely get to spend time with their children...you-didn't-cone-to-see-me-once-in-8 years argument does look out of place. And even in cantonments of India, kids are not made to call their fathers 'sir'!

Pavan J said...

Udaan is one of the most honest films I have seen this year... hope we can also something like this in Telugu... it doesn't cost much which makes business sense and it helps to live cinema longer...