Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Wake Up Sid – Slacker Ranbir Coming of Age
I liked Wake Up Sid more than I thought I would. To be honest, the story is a bit too close to home, as my son has graduated college and is trying to find his way in the world.
Ranbir Kapoor is Sid. He’s a rich Bombay kid who flunks his college finals. Anupam Kher is his father (who else!) and tells him he has to go to work in the family plumbing fixture business. When he walks out, Sid and his father have a huge fight and he is kicked out of his family home, his credit cards canceled.
Sid can’t think of anywhere to go than to the apartment of his new friend Aisha ((Konkona Sen Sharma). I think Aisha was supposed to be 27 and Ranbir much younger as he was supposed to be a college graduate (maybe 23?). Anyway, it’s unusual to have the woman be older in any Bollywood relationship so brownie points for that. Aisha is new to Bombay and starting a new job and an independent life.
Sid learns all the real life skills that he has had no clue about in his sheltered life, like laundry, fixing up an apartment and cooking an egg. Sid has a passion for photography and ends up getting a job at the magazine where Aisha works.
It sounds trite, but the script is actually pretty clever. This is the debut feature film of director Ayan Mukerji who also wrote the story of the film. He won the Filmfare best debut director deservedly. Wake Up Sid was quite the success, and his second feature is the mega-hit Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. His films both have characters and situations that while filmi, still feel grounded in reality, aa specific young urban reality. (I’m a little leery that his next project is reported to be a superhero film, also starring his muse Ranbir Kapoor, Dragon.)
The romance evolves organically. They’re just friends at first and sleep on separate pallets in the same room. Aisha tries not to fall in love, because Sid is at first such a mess and so purposeless. But this is charming Ranbir after all, she has no chance. Once he reconciles with his parents upon getting his first magazine job paycheck, he moves out, and that’s what makes both of them realize how their feelings have changed.
Fortunately, the film doesn’t just focus on Sid and his travails. Aisha gets her own storyline with an almost romance with her sophisticated jazz-loving boss. It was nice, frankly, to see Konkona Sen Sharma get a juicy big part like this in a romantic film.
My feelings about this film are just tinged by the fact that I’m living this right now with my own son. So it’s not exactly escapist fare for this mom. Sid only took about a month to wake up. Sometimes the process is longer.
Still, I think the director is fantastic, and I look forward to all his future projects, even if he makes Ranbir a superhero (gulp!)
Four stars out of five.