With every passing day, its going to take even more of an herculean effort to get me writing a decent blogspot. Udaan demands such an herculean effort.
Who would have thought that a story of a boy and his father altered decisively by the presence of a step-brother would have made such compulsive viewing.
There isn't much of a story in Udaan. It really is about a boy growing up in a completely unexpected way. THe way it unfolds is extremely riveting and touching.
Rohan wants to a writer, his dad like most other dad wants him to complete engineering and join him in business. Rohan isn't your typical hero. He has been 'rusticated', he smokes and drives his father's car to the bar in the dead of the night. He knows that he is a writer, but nothing much else. He is still very much in search of his identity.
That reveals to him slowly through in sudden ways - his adorable chachu who wants him to do want he wants, and even ready to take him under his wings (to disastrous effect), his college mates who initially try to rag him, and then turn into thick friends (even castigating him for wallowing in self-pity). But his inner resolve comes to the fore in wanting to protect his step-brother, Arjun from the tryanny of his father. There is a potent chance of Arjun being shunted off to the boarding school becoming another version of Rohan and ultimately growing up to become just like his father.
People will have complaints about the slowness, stillness and unevenness of the film. But I think that is a key part of why this film works. It really seeps into your phyche, makes you relate to Rohan, Arjun, Jimmy and even on occasion, Bhairav Singh. YOu can see that there is some truth in what Bhairav Singh says or wants from his sons. But, there is no denying his methods are all wrong. At the same time, he himself doesn't seem to have the guidance and love from his parents which he can draw on.
A big part in why the movie works is the music and the lyrics. The soundtrack is nothing short of haunting. Rohan leaves his school and the track goes "Kahaani khatm hai ya shuruvat hone ko hai". You wonder what's going to happen now in ROhan's life.
Rohan's decision of disowning his father and his home has the refrains
Peron Ki Bedia Khwabon Ko Baandhe Nahi Re, Kabhi Nahi Re
Mitti Ki Parton Ko Nanhe Se Ankur Bhi Chire Dhire Dhire
and then the words again...
"Kahaani khatm hai ya shuruvat hone ko hai"
You really are astounded by the strength and courage that Rohan finds in going back for his brother, and taking the decision to raise him single-handedly with love and care that he never had. It makes you feel small, put in (a very low) perspective whatever sense of achievement you have in life.
But, you fear for the two of them. Would Rohan be able to support both of them. Will they both be ok in the big bad world out there.
I think they would.
P.S. Showed it to new niece of 6 years. It was a really long day of travelling, and we started the movie at 11 pm. I thought she would fall asleep. She saw it right through, and guess what liked it.
Of course, she is intelligent.