The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
Kolkata Maidan- The lungs of the city. Lovingly shot by Arindam Patra.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wake up Sid- the review

Steaming, freshly brewed coffee- that's what I would like to feel about Wake up Sid. It's indeed a pleasant surprise coming from Karan Johar's stable and yet so non-conforming to the familiar Karan Johar product.

The wafer-thin plot is about Siddharth Mehra aka Sid, a carefree, happy-go-lucky college kid with no goal in life (and knows no reason for having one, thanks to his super-rich industrialist father). For him life is all about hanging out with friends, clicking photos, i-pod, parties and shopping. He crosses path with Aisha (Ayesha) Banerjee, a wannabe writer from Kolkata looking for an independent life in Mumbai. Two opposite personalities happen to get along just fine. And then Sid's journey of life takes a bumpy road forcing him to take a hard look at life. What happens to him and how Aisha helps him rediscover himself forms the rest of the story.

The treatment is realistic and very, very contemporary, the characterizations are believable (script by Ayan Mukerji), the storytelling is cool. It's definitely one coming-of-age urban flick that reminds us of Dil Chahta Hai that showed a new way of making Hindi films years back. Anil Mehta's cinematography complements the storytelling and treatment perfectly, Amrita Mahal Nakai's sets are brillant and superbly echoe the vibrance and youthfulness such a movie demands (The exterior and interior of the office of Mumbai Beat where Konkona works and her apartment, after doing up, were particularly outstanding), Niranjan Iyenger's dialogues are very 'today' and help build up the characters in the right fashion.

The background score is a fine job, and though there aren't too many songs that you possibly can take back home, 'Gunja sa koi iktara iktara' (lyrics by Javed Akhtar, music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) is soul-touching.

Ranbir Kapoor (Sid) and Konkona Sen Sharma (Aisha) are perfectly cast in their roles and are on top of their game. They are easily among the finest young acting talents around. Sid's mint-fresh, innocent, hard-to-miss charm couldn't possibly have been brought to life by anyone other than Ranbir. And the way Konkona has carried the female lead- a matter-of-fact, ambitious, confident and hardworking girl who wake up her confused friend Sid to life, opposite such a popular, sought-after young talent like Ranbir, this movie will serve as a very important milestone in her Bollywood career. Among others, Anupam Kher (Sid's father) and Supriya Pathak (Sid's loving mother who makes a sustained effort to speak good enough English so that she can be friends with her 'gen Y' son, despite being a school dropout) are superb. Namit Das as Rishi, Sid's nursery buddy and Shikha Talsania as Laxmi, Sid's obese college friend, are absolutely natural. Rahul Khanna is good in the small cameo of Aisha's boss. The entire gamut of actors is well cast.

Due to the thin plot, director Ayan Mukerji had a tough job on hand in telling a 2 hour-34 minute story. And the young chap, all of just 24 years, impresses with his craft in both script and direction departments. Thanks to Karan, we are gifted with another talented, young, new-age filmmaker after Abhishek Kapoor and Sagar Ballary.

The tribute to Dil Chahta Hai is evident in the storytelling, especially where Ranbir speaks one of Aamir's lines (' Usne tera khuddar ko lalkara hai. Kya karta hai yaar? Be a man.' ). But Wake up Sid is more progressive anmd braver than its inspiration in the way that it didn't have to depend on formula music. While DCH had a disco song, a dream song and a romantic song between Aamir and Preity, Wake up Sid doesn't have a single lip-synched song, though there was ample scope, and yet it never lets you miss music.

Long live new-wave Bollywood. Go for Wake up Sid folks.