Film Review: Wake Up Sid!

I’m always wary when a film is proclaimed a coming-of-age film because this in my mind equals a film that will, in time, come to represent something very important for the audience who patronize the film. Hence, with all the talk of Wake Up Sid! (WUS) being a “coming-of-age” film, it was either going to be a cult classic that would connect with Bollywood youth culture or be an absolute turkey. But what I didn’t expect was for the film to land in the middle of these two poles…

WUS is the story of Siddharth or Sid (Kapoor), a young carefree boy who has literally no worries or care about anything. Spoilt by rich parents, Sid’s life is about partying, playing computer games, eating junk food and meandering through life. But as Sid comes to the end of college, two significant factors force him to confront reality: the first is Aisha (Sharma), an aspiring journalist from Kolkota who hopes to make it big in Mumbai and the second is Sid’s exam results – which force Sid to wake up to reality…

WUS tries hard to be a hip indie film perhaps trying to channel some of the effortless cool that something like Rock On! had in abundance. Sometimes it does succeed – technically the film looks nice with a natural look, allowing Mumbai to shine through and camera angles that have an almost voyeuristic quality (check out how many shots there are Ranbir sleeping and of Ranbir lying on his front on the floor whilst the camera loiters with intent behind…)

Another plus point is the soundtrack where all the songs are played in the background rather than lip-synched (save for the WUS remix at the end credits). The film also picks up brownie points for tackling a subject that will resonate with the youth of today – one scene, pre intermission gave me goosebumps and was eerily similar to an episode in my life. That the audience in the cinema, who had seemed restless up to that point, gave their full concentration to the scene showed its impact.

However, the film’s main problem is that as soon as it touches something that may make things messy and awkward, the film is quickly steered back into mainstream territory. WUS doesn’t seem to realize that had it pushed the envelope more, it would have become the film it had set out to be.

The Dharma Productions stamp is all over the film, in the styling of the characters right down to the cage full of fairy lights in Aisha’s apartment (a neat idea though, where does one get a bird cage from? Let us know!) Sid wears a seemingly never ending supply of cartoon/comic character t-shirts (never wearing the same one twice) whilst Aisha is styled by Manish Malhotra (and gets a separate credit for it too) though its pretty obvious from Aisha’s numerous embellished/printed/plain kurtis and jeans combo teamed with boho /oversize bags. Styling wise, though Konkona looked amazing, I felt Malhotra’s styling offered nothing new and instead felt like a Aaja Nachle hangover with Konkona wearing some identical get ups that Madhuri wore in the film.

As for the performances, Ranbir turns in a good performance, capturing Sid’s passive nature quite well and though it looks quite easy to play what is relatively a very simple character, Ranbir makes Sid likeable and most importantly, believable. I really liked Konkona’s performance, this is the kind of role that she could do in her sleep but to her credit, Konkona makes Aisha appear fresh and the perfect foil to Ranbir’’s Sid, being careful not to overshadow or overpower Ranbir which she could do but at the same time, make sure she does full justice to the character. The supporting cast also make their presence felt, with Kashmera Shah especially deserving mention for her role as Jane.

With Do Knot Disturb out at the same time, WUS is going to have a battle on its hands at the box office but it does have a good chance and will certainly be well received by the younger audiences. Is this one to see in cinema? I arrived at the cinema after a tiring day of the work and found myself forgetting the woes of the day and getting into the film, so while it may not be the most challenging film, its certainly one of the above average offerings this year…

(Previously posted on on 2nd October 2009)

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