Wake Up Sid

07 Oct

In Ayan Mukherji’s Wake Up Sid, a charming slacker tells  a recent arrival in his city that she’s going to love it when the rains come to Bombay because they completely change its character. The movie then tracks their life over the course of two eventful months before the monsoon as he is compelled to rise in love, recognize his privilege, rediscover his parents and find a career.

Everything chugs along at a leisurely pace and whether you find this journey interesting or not depends on whether you’re able to relate to any of it. Personally, I found the movie littered with characters who felt familiar to me.

For example, central to the upheaval in Sid Mehra’s (Ranbir Kapoor) life is that girl to whom he promised a life-changing monsoon: Aisha Bannerji (Konkona Sen Sharma). The New York Times review carried the headline “Career Woman Helps A Man-Child Grow Up“. How often do you see that?

Aisha’s a few years older and she has all the drive and determination that Sid lacks. She moved to Mumbai from Kolkota because that’s where she wanted to be, she’s planned her career path even if terrifies the bejeesus out of her, and she wants a man who is decisive, smart, and driven – “not a boy”, she says not unkindly when Sid asks her if she sees something more than friendship in their future.

There’s an adorable frankness about her that is neither rude nor mean. Occasionally, her tongue runs away with her – “I didn’t expect to be so nervous or for you to be so handsome,” she chatters to her yummy boss-to-be (Rahul Khanna) right when she’s trying to impress him with the depth of her homework.

Sid, the kind of guy who sulks about his failing grade as though it was caused by external circumstances beyond his control, is immediately attracted to this go-getter.

Producer Karan Johar likes to note that Mukherji, his latest protege, is the same age as he was when he made his debut with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. But there are no friendship bands in this movie, the tomboy doesn’t need to make herself over into a swan, and there is no mournful song about true love found and lost in the rain. Instead, as Sid and Aisha get to know each other, Hemant Kumar sings “Mera humdum mil gaya” in the background; later, as Aisha examines her feelings for Sid, the voice in her head says:

Main to kisiki hoke yeh bhi na jaani
Ruth hai ye do pal ki ya rehegi sada
(kise hai pata kise hai pata)

But what really struck me about Wake Up Sid was the fight between Sid and his father (Anupam Kher). Far from being the genial “gapoochie! o lola!” permissive father of movies like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kher is the kind of father I have at home: a deeply emotional, inarticulate man who finds it easier to express his affectionate concern with a thundering scold than a heartfelt speech about finicky things like love. Sid is horribly rude and ungrateful when his father calls him out on his utter worthlessness; paradoxically, he’s the first person Sid wants to tell about his job. That’s pretty much every good father-and-son relationship I’ve ever known right there.

Somebody – I forget who – once remarked that the greatest love stories in the world occur between parents and their children. It might be the C-plot in Wake Up Sid but the few scenes it affords are remarkably free of the usual cloying sentimentality reeking of manipulation that infuses any discussion of The Maa in Bollywood and full of warmth instead. Supriya Pathak essentially plays a lighter version of her role in the Sarkar series but the only time I teared up in the movie – emotionally, it’s more of a pleasant plateau than a rollercoaster ride – was when she explains her awkward English as a way to understand the stranger who is her son.

By the time the rains arrived in Mumbai and everything had fallen in place, all I wanted to do was cuddle up with my momsie and make gentle fun of my overprotective daddy who we’re calling Psycho Dad these days because we have a nasty sense of humor like that. I guess Dharma Productions is still all about loving your parents!


Posted by on October 7, 2009 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video


21 responses to “Wake Up Sid

  1. Mum-Boy-Man-Swoon?

    October 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Sounds like sweet leetal movie for rainy day — shall keep eye out for dee vee dee.

    For a second there, I thought Psycho Dad was a reference to that running gag on the Bundy show! 😛

  2. sachita

    October 7, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    your father and son angle description took me to the ending in love story.

    OARN, Karan Johar also mentioned how Ayan went through a world cinema phase with some sort of disgust on his face. One day, I shall make a bollywood calling type movie with just Karan Johar as the hero – all I have to collect these clippings:)

    • MBMS

      October 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm

      (Took me all morning to figure out “On A Related Note” 😛 ok, exaggerating.) I’ve always thought these diro/star TV interviews were total bakwas; have been steering clear of them, but this one (like the one Ali gave to NDTV for LAK) has not one false note in it. I’m a big fan of KJo-the-person now!

      It’s almost as if he had this sudden nostalgia attack and switched to “reminiscing out loud” mode. Don’t you love it when he leaves TA (who’s under the preliminary illusion that *he* is the one holding the conversational reins) practically gaping, as he gallops off down Memory Lane? Cho chweet. You really should make that movie with KJo as hero — start collecting those clips. 😀

      And Amrita, Wah…Wah…Waheeda again? Wow! Thanks.

      • sachita

        October 9, 2009 at 9:43 pm

        🙂 i think watching these interviews sometimes is much more fun than the movies. I dont watch as many movies.

        And Amrita: thanks for script writing, I am going to ask HRH Pitu for consultancy.

  3. Gradwolf

    October 8, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Haha that’s a good point there about Dharma Productions. Watching this tomorrow.

  4. pitu

    October 8, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Aww sounds cute. I can never resist Koko! Maybe I shall catch it this Tuesday ($5 nite at the local Hindi theater 😉

  5. bollyviewer

    October 8, 2009 at 12:56 am

    It was such a cute film! There were so many touching little moments – the father-son bonding moment, the mother-son meeting moment, the friends-drunk-together moment. The one that really had me in tears though, was the Maa-brings-mangoes moment – thats when it suddenly struck me that its been half a decade since I had a decent mango and unless I am willing to brave a Delhi summer again (never again!) I am never likely to have one again. Sob! Sob! Sniff! Sniff! If I ever start my own production house – the movies will be all about loving the mangoes.

  6. Gagan

    October 8, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Nice post… often people get so much into the boy girl relationship that they forget to look at the boy – father relationship, which, at times, is very complicated, yet simple. Often, a boy strives for approval of his fathers, who knows exactly what his son is capable of, and does not praise his son simply because the son is capable of more. Yet, one positive word from the same father makes him feel that every thing was worth it. This has been shown very well in Lakshya, when Boman Irani tells Hritik that no one else in his club has a son fighting at the border, and that he is proud of him. That one moment takes away a lifetime of scolding.

  7. Srinivas

    October 8, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Hey…why the snark against KKHH. Kuch kuch hota hain Amrita, tum nahin samjhogi 😉

  8. Banno

    October 8, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Yes! Dhanno just couldn’t understand it when I went on and on about the parents’ story. For her, of course, it was all about Sid. 4 excursions from our house have already been made to the theater showing ‘Sid’. 🙂

  9. Priyaank

    October 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Hmm its a nice movies !!

  10. Amrita

    October 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

    MBMS – the things you make me remember, honestly! 😀 As for KJo and TA – if TA would have sucked up any more, then he’d have swallowed KJo whole. What I appreciate about KJo though is that he’s an accomplished raconteur. He’s always good time pass as long as he’s not trying to get too philosophical in which case he sounds too filmi to be real.

    Sachita – hee hee hee, well it IS KJo! You know, if you ever do, call me – I’ll write the screenplay for it. I have a ton of material waiting to be used!

    Adithya – maybe you’ll write something!

    Pitu – damn girl, after WYR you deserve a little treat!

    BV – awww! Darned summer, being all hot! I feel you on the heat though. I’ve never spent May/June in Delhi and I don’t plan on starting anytime either. However, I don’t know about where you live but somewhere in the US you can now get Alphonsos – super expensive and a teeny tiny amount in speciality shops, but you get them. Maybe you can get em over the internet.

    Gagan – Farhan Akhtar has really screwed the pooch for this generation of filmmakers who want to make coming of age stories, hasn’t he?

    Srinivas – evidently not, lol!

    Banno – well at least she has good taste in movies 😀 It reminds me of that joke about the 18 yr old who went to college, came back for Christmas and was shocked at how much his parents had grown up over four months.

    Priyaank – yes it is.

  11. the mad momma

    October 9, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    one of the kindest reviews I’ve read….

  12. Gradwolf

    October 9, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    You know, this turned out to be one of those movies(we are increasingly getting such movies these days) that you really like despite its flaws. I rememeber Vaaranam Aayiram from last year was one such. Some ordinary writing but beautiful moments lift this to another level. I don’t think even one character was weakly written, including the neighbor and her kid. Even Rahul ‘loser’ Khanna’s character had a nice arc to it. And then that love letter to Bombay. I liked.

  13. memsaab

    October 10, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Yay! Finally a Ranbir film that I might want to see! 🙂 (and hooray for slightly older women everywhere)…

  14. Amrita

    October 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    TMM – ahahahaha! well, it was cute.

    Adithya – omg, Rahul Khanna’s character was so spot on! I was sitting there flashbacking like nobody’s business. And I wanted her to punch him in his smug face right there because I never got to do it! Dammit!

    Memsaab – and the word “cougar” isn’t so much as mentioned anywhere! Success!

  15. Ebrahim Kabir

    October 17, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I feel the film was fine in places but it could have been a lot better.

  16. MBMS

    October 20, 2009 at 2:04 am

    It’s no secret that I’m biased toward all things Christmassy. So when I find out a movie named Snow White is out in Blu-ray, you can bet on my making a beeline for it; but Disney love is really not all that I wandered back in here to share (though I’m pretty sure the “card carrying member of the Disney autopilot nation” — yes, you, Ms. A! — will more than welcome me with open arms). 😀

    It’s a love far more profound. The one you talk about up above: “… the greatest love stories in the world occur between parents and their children.” ‘coz it’s what Dave Kehr closes his Blu-ray review of Snow White with!

    Interestingly, (though I’m not jumping to any conclusions about the ending of the movie, from your pretty open-ended review, but it’s hard as hell not to infer the usual), it made me wonder if shades of “parental love” is in fact what truly colors the purest/profoundest moments in romantic relationships too… I mean *every* great love story there is probably exudes oodles of oedipal/electral subtexts, if one cared to look closely enough.

  17. Amrita

    October 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Ebrahim – there seems to be a general trend these days everywhere for movies in which nothing happens, and sometimes they bomb miserably. WUS wasn’t a perfect movie, I agree but it was a cute one.

    MBMS – oooh, is that the one with the sneak preview of The Princess and the Frog? How wild is it that the Frog’s name is Naveen?
    Re: the oedipal / elektra… well they’re definitely attracted to the idea that each completes the other in a way. She’s very mature and he’s attracted to that from the outset because she’s unlike anyone he knows, but there’s a definite point in the movie where she begins to appreciate his immaturity, so to speak. He lightens her up. You’ll have to see it and make up your own mind. 😀
    What’s that they say about the perfect wife – mistress in the bedroom, mother in the kitchen or something? Phooey.

  18. kk

    November 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I finally saw this film and remembered your review. What a charming film. Supriya Pathak and Anupam Kher are great. You really felt for them. It’d be good to see them in a movie that really showcases their respective talents.

    • Amrita

      November 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm

      Yeah it’s too bad they don’t really make movies for actors past a certain age.

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