Love, laugh & lives lost - If you are not a Tarantino fan, watch Wake up Sid for Ranbir-Konkona and Do Knot Disturb for Govinda

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 3.10.09

Love story in disguise

Orey manwa tu toh bawra hai
Tu hi jaane tu kya sochta hai…
Jo barse sapne boond boond
Nainon ko moond moond…
Dheeme bole koi iktara
Gunjasa hai koi iktara

If there was one song that could change the genre of a film midway, this is it. The Amit Trivedi-composed Javed Akhtar-written Iktara takes Wake Up Sid by the collar and transforms it in two back-to-back versions — one male, one female — from a coming-of-age tale into a beautiful love story.

In fact, the magic of Ayan Mukerji’s directorial debut is that it’s a love story in disguise. You know the film’s called Wake Up Sid, you have seen the promos where everyone’s trying to, well, wake up Sid and you can easily figure it out that by the end of the movie the rich-kid-who-doesn’t-give-a-damn-about-anything will be a responsible man of the world. But the romance, which seems to be only a sub-plot in the scheme of things, unveils its beautiful face and makes the movie a little more than just about hitting the lakshya.

Given that the protagonist is supposedly sleeping at the start of the story, Wake Up Sid sets off sluggishly. The exposition is too elaborate and of the been-there-seen-that kinds. Sid (Ranbir) doesn’t care for tomorrow, doesn’t want to go to Pa’s (Anupam Kher) office, doesn’t want to have Ma (Supriya Pathak) ki haath ka khana and basically fools around with a few friends all around Mumbai.

The city, in fact, is set up as a character like Vienna in Before Sunrise and the landmarks are used as leitmotif throughout the movie. One of the first conversations between Aisha (Konkona) and Sid on Marine Drive seemed a throwback to one of the many random chats Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke had in the Richard Linklater classic.

Not to forget, Wake Up Sid is also a Dharma production. And so there are quite a few massy (read clichéd) scenes peppered in an otherwise smart screenplay (by Ayan himself). So for every original gem like the jam sandwich birthday cake or him wearing her kurti, you have the hackneyed scenes of pehli pay cheque baap ke naam and the forced love quadrangle (involving Rahul Khanna, yet again after Love Aaj Kal).

Surprisingly, however, Ayan comes off more a Farhan Akhtar fanboy than a KJo clan member. Besides the similarity of the film’s first act with Lakshya, Sid seems modelled a tad too much on Aamir’s Aakash from Dil Chahta Hai. Also, the dialogues have a huge DCH hangover. “Perfection ko improve karna mushkil hai” becomes “I am kind of perfect” here, “Hum cake khaane ke liye kahin bhi jaa sakte hain” becomes “Main toh bhukha nanga rehta hoon.” At one point, Sid, in fact, tells someone on the phone: “Usne teri khuddari ko lalkaara hai… Mard ban, be a man!” Hmmm… one homage too many!

But Wake Up Sid, on the other side of the awakening, is about Ranbir and Konkona. Forget who’s the superstar in waiting and who’s the toast of arthouse cinema, here’s two of the finest young actors in our country exuding genuine — and infectious — warmth in scene after scene.

Here’s a mint-fresh romance between two very opposite individuals. He has a Dark Knight poster on the door, she has an Annie Hall frame on the wall. He listens to John Mayer, she listens to Hemant Kumar. Yet they connect over poached eggs and the Mumbai monsoon to make it a heartwarming love story.

The new faces (Shikha and Namit) as Sid’s friends are natural and effective. Anupam Kher is Pa again and is very good being Pa after what seems like a long time. The confrontation scene with Ranbir just before the interval sets the tone for the much better second half. Cinematographer Anil Mehta (Lagaan) is in good form and Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s score punctuates the proceedings appropriately, even if none of their songs hits the high of the Iktara notes.

Wake Up Sid is not about how the young Indian needs to pull up his socks and buckle his shoes and stand on his feet and blah blah blah… it’s a boy’s awakening to the more profound pleasures of life around him, particularly that derived from the game called love.

Watch it as a slice-of-life romance played out by two terrific talents. Expect anything more and Sid would fall short. Just like that wonderful moment where Ranbir gives Konkona that doosrawala hug for the first time and Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahaan plays in the background… till a needless loud guitar riff breaks the spell. Okay, Ayan’s just 24 and he is not kind of perfect, yet.

Pratim D. Gupta