Wake up, Bollywood. Here comes the warmest most credible captivating and kaleidoscopic coming-of-age film since Dil Chahta Hai.
Wake Up, Sid has no overt dramatic highs and lows. It has an inherent charm and candor in its storytelling that take the narrative a very, very long way, right to the heartwarming lovers’ union ending on the seaside where the only splashy thing is the sea and where Sid embraces love with all its glorious shortcomings.
At the end of Sid’s saga of spiritual awakening one is a little flummoxed by what quality in debutant Ayan Mukherjee’s film makes this film so endearing. Could it be the disarming lack of artifice and affectations in the way Ayan portrays Sid’s journey from slothful affluence to working-class agility?
Or could it be just the fact that Ayan uses tender supple moments in the narrative as though they were punctuation marks in a long and deeply disarming discourse on ‘How To Find Yourself & Your True Vocation In The Melee Of Bombay….sorry, Mumbai.’
Wake Up, Sid is a triumph on many levels. It takes the protagonist’s predictable but yet kinetic voyage into self-realization to a level where the languorous plot exudes a beam of light that cuts right across the radiant narrative. The colours are bright but never glaring. The film is shot in a warm and sunny speckled ambience filled with fleeting glimpses into hearts that are forever on a run. The moments to retrospect are snatched from the bustle of metropolitan life.
The most obtainable component of young Ayan Mukherjee’s artless narrative is the remarkable rhythms of the ordinary and the unostentatious in the narrative. All the relationships in the plot are potentially predictable and cliched. Ayan takes the age-old dramatic conflicts of our commercial cinema into quiet supremely understated corridors.
Wake Up, Sid gives us many moments to carry home. Whether it is Ranbir Kapoor with his screen-father (Anupam Kher) or his mother (Supriya Pathak, endearing n her simplicity), or his bummy-chummy camaraderie with his friends (Shikha Talsania and Namit Das are credible all the way as Laxmi and Rishi) the motivations behind the characters’ words bubble to the surface without external props to hammer in the emotions.
The background score and cinematography (Anil Mehta) are done in practical and unassuming shades. Mumbai never looked less romanticized. The relationship between Ranbir and Konkona develops as they move around her cramped apartment. Miraculously their hearts never bump into the furniture. The narrative dodges the clamor of daily life with a determined fluency.
Konkona Sen-Sharma as the Kolkata girl trying to find her bearings in the cool largely heartless city of Mumbai conveys so much of her character’s unstated emotions that we wonder if she’s even aware of the camera’s presence. And she isn’t alone in her pursuit of a non-cinematic performance in a film that salutes and dodges predictable drama. Anupam Kher as Sid’s father effectively uses his limited space to create a tycoon who wants his laadla to stand on his own sneakered feet.
It’s the little-little things that the characters do when the camera isn’t looking that nourishes the narrative.
Would this wonderfully -uncrowded film have worked without Ranbir Kapoor? Ranbir’s Sid is a near-perfect portrait of the aimless young man searching for a direction in life. Ranbir handles the character’s inner life with the effortlessness of a Sitar maestro twiddling with his instrument’s strings to create a music that takes the audience to a world where the sounds suggest a harmony between art and life.
In Wake Up, Sid Ranbir proves once and for all that he’s the future of Hindi cinema.
As for Ayan Mukherjee, the debutant director gives us insight into maturity of hearts even when they are stubbornly immature in their outward conduct.
Don’t miss this wake-up call from a director-actor duo that have created a world of heartbreaking transparency.