Interestingly, 2 of my favourite films of the year released on the same day, the other being Inception — both of these films released on the 16th of July. Vikramaditya Motwane’s directorial debut is a coming of age story free of all the Bollywood cliches. Set in Jamshedpur, which is a territory rarely dwelled into, with a green and cold colour palette, the film narrates the story of Rohan, who hesitantly returned to home after being suspended from the boarding school, where he spent most of his life. Till date, the film persists to be fresh and is one of the most realistic portrayals of aspirations, middle-class life and parent pressure. With its grim visual language and a fly on the wall treatment, Udaan also has one of the best antagonists, who is the opposite of every other antagonist we are generally used to in Hindi films. He is the protagonist’s father, Bhairav, menacingly played by Ronit Roy. The irony of the fact that Rohan loses his freedom at home after cherishing his life at the boarding school is subtle yet hard-hitting. Rohan, who aspires to be a writer, struggling to keep up with his father’s harsh rules forms the narrative of the film.
To my father, Bhairav would be an Anti-hero!
Bhairav wants Rohan to study engineering, which Rohan loathes. By observing from the surface level, you may even ask why is Bhairav being projected as an antagonist when all he wants is his son to study well. To my father, Bhairav would be an Anti-hero! This very point that this film can be perceived from two angles is what made Udaan my favourite film of the year. I see it from Rohan’s perspective, no question about it. I firmly believe art is subjective, and as a response, it will bring out the viewer’s personal experiences. And Udaan does that.
To put in one line- Udaan is about dreams, aspirations, and the courage one needs to pull together to make the jump. Rajat Barmecha gives life to Rohan, brings the innocence, helplessness and desire in his performance. Amit Trivedi’s Aazadiyaan, which plays out at the end of the film, in addition to being a beautifully written and composed song, sums up the whole film and emotes what the protagonist has been craving for throughout the film.