LFF Review: Udaan

As father-son issues go, Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) definitely has his fair share. After the death of his mother when he was 9 years old, he was sent to boarding school by his strict father. Now at 17, he returns home to a very angry and disappointed father, who is hasn’t seen in 8 years, to find out he got remarried (and divorced), and had another son. His problems with his father escalate on his first night back when his dreams of becoming a writer are completely dismissed. (major understatement of how it goes down)

Amongst all the drama with his father, and the rebellious side of him that just comes with being a teenager, there’s a small but important, and very effective, part of the film that focuses on his relationship with his half brother. Though his initial reaction is to hate him, they bond, and he starts feeling protective towards him against their father. Without this strand to the plot, Rohan could have possibly come across as a bit of a brat, but having a focus on his relationship with his brother shows that he is a good guy, and a lot of what he does is more of a reaction to his father. 

Newcomer Rajat Barmecha is good as troubled Rohan. There’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of his acting, but he has the potential and he will get better as he does more films. Ronit Roy is worryingly good as the authoritarian father, and he’s a great contrast to the loving uncle, played by Ram Kapoor. There are a lot of potential points of discussion over the two roles, and how different the two brothers were. They were both brought up by a strict father, and yet they turned out nothing alike. I would like to believe it was intentional rather than a flaw in the script and in their performances playing brothers. 

The film looked good, however there were some lighting issues. It was either a weird choice, or someone’s inexperience with cameras showed when light from a window pretty much blacked out what was happening in the scene. The action wasn’t that important, and you could tell what was happening, but it was a little frustrating to watch. 

I know a lot of people find it difficult to enjoy a film if the content hits very close to home, but somehow I find myself appreciating it more for that reason. I think some moments will definitely hit those spots in a lot of people who have had issues with their parents, or were forced to give up their dreams, particularly desi folk (people from the Indian sub-continent). 

Udaan (pronounced Urr-aan) was selected to compete in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, and screened at the London Film Festival. Its so good to see the smaller films India is producing getting the recognition they deserve. 


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