Udaan: An Arduous Flight to an Aspirational Destination
The movie is a must-watch and should be celebrated by those who willfully chose a way distinct to that suggested by their family. It depicts various societal problems like abusive family members, children not being given enough independence to choose their careers, problems of children having a single parent and nuclear family problems.
After getting a scolding over some petty issue by your teacher or parents, have you ever thought like “Dikha doonga inko, main kaun hoon”? Well these are the exact thoughts behind the seventeen-year-old Rohan, a character played by Rajat Barmecha in the Vikramaditya Motwane directed 2010 movie named “Udaan”. Udaan – meaning flight in Hindi, celebrates the idea of freedom for the youth in choosing their careers and living a life without having any sort of pressure from the parents.
The movie begins in a rather shocking way with Rohan being expelled from his boarding school in Shimla along with three of his batch mates. Their offense being sneaking out of the hostel in night to watch an adult movie, only to find their hostel warden there as an audience. In the next few minutes, we are shown a sad Rohan leaving the school campus and having no clue as to what the future has in store for him. The first song of the movie “Kahani khatam hai ya shuruwat hone ko hai...” perfectly gels with the situation and forces the audience to get in the shoes of a scared 17-year-old school expelled boy.
Once, back in Rohan’s hometown of Jamshedpur, we are quickly introduced to his bossy father 'Bhairav Singh' perfectly played by Ronit Roy. Bhairav appears to be one of those military discipline strict dads who prefers to be addressed as ‘Sir’ by his kids. Subsequently, we get to know that Rohan’s mother is dead and Rohan just has his father and a younger brother to call as family. The next morning Rohan is awakened early in a rather forceful way by his father who takes both his children to morning running. Thus starts a recurring feature in the movie where we see Bhairav instructing Rohan every day to run fast and catch-up and stop being lazy and 'disgusting'.
We are at this point also introduced to the uncle of Rohan – 'Jimmy Singh' played by Ram Kapoor. Jimmy is the mirror opposite of his brother Bhairav. Jimmy is friendly, patient listener, soft-spoken, and most importantly approves of Rohan’s will to take up poetry as a profession; all of which is absent in Bhairav Singh’s character. Bhairav instructs Rohan to work in their small metal framing factory and also forces Rohan to study in a local engineering college to become an engineer, all this against Rohan’s will.
Besides being bossy, Bhairav has a drinking problem and often remains intoxicated in the house. During such times, he unleashes verbal abuses and physical tortures on both of his kids. While such scenarios may be uncommon in metropolitan India, anyone who has lived in Tier-2 & 3 towns knows how common such problems can be. The movie moves at a brisk pace and we get to see Rohan trying to make new friends in Jamshedpur but eventually failing to connect like the way he did with his boarding school friends. In some scenes, we can even see Rohan resorting to drinking just like his father in hope of easing his pains but it becomes evident that the only thing which can bring relief to him is poetry; something his dad will never approve.
The story moves on with Rohan deliberately not paying attention in the class and subsequently failing the semester examination in the hope that Bhairav, his father will give up on him becoming an engineer. Rohan’s metal framework apprenticeship also goes alongside by side with him spending time in the factory early in the day (after the daily running session with his father of course) and then moving to the college to take classes. Rohan’s day end is often met with an abusive drunk father who often complains how “girlish” Rohan is, and how he is too weak to run or take up responsibilities as a man should of his age.
One day Rohan returns home to find his brother Arjun being rushed to the hospital. Upon enquiring with his father, he gets to know that Arjun fell from the stairs and has injured himself. This is followed by father Bhairav rushing to Kolkata for an urgent business trip leaving Rohan to take care of Arjun. Rohan soon gets to know that Arjun was hospitalized after receiving an excessive beating from his father who was enraged due to some business contract being not awarded to him. At the same time, we see Rohan winning the hearts of hospital patients and employees with his poems and stories. This gives him the required confidence and we can see a Rohan who is more confident in his abilities than he earlier was.
The movie unfolds finally in its last scene with Rohan finding his would-be stepmother at home with her child. Rohan after being distraught with his dad finally runs away from him in an almost finale long chase with Bhairav Singh being unable to catch up with him and then running away with his younger brother to Mumbai. All in all, it’s a champion of a tale for teenage ambition being of paramount importance where they can rewrite a new world order taking the control from their mid-aged dads who know a lot less about how the world has changed around him in last two decades. Needless to say, engineer making dads are many but there may be still many more Rohans in this world.
The movie is a must-watch and should be celebrated by those who willfully chose a way distinct to that suggested by their family. It depicts various societal problems like abusive family members, children not being given enough independence to choose their careers, problems of children having a single parent and nuclear family problems. Also, the movie will be liked by those who are finding a way out from their tough times. “Behti Lehrien laangh na paayein” is one such song that will lift your morals in even grimmest of times. All in all, the movie gives a strong statement against our society dictating terms for the youngsters and is a sure watch for all those thinking hard as to which career they should choose from various choices available to them.
The author is a research scholar in Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Bihar and is an intern at Academics4nation.