Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wake Up Sid (2009)

Wake Up Sid, the latest movie from Karan Johar‘s camp by yet another debutant director, has been strongly marketed as a movie for the present day youth, the slacker generation that refuses to grow up. Unfortunately, the director comes from the same culture as his target audience, and lacks the maturity and wisdom that this movie requires in its telling. This failure turns a fantastic opportunity into a dismal melodrama heavily layered in saccharine, making it a movie that is more a generation's dream than a wakeup call.

Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) is a shallow rich kid, living on the surface of an easy life, fare from any form of responsibility and reality. He lives his life of cartoons, friends, parties and gadgets. Even when reality does hit him, he refuses to face his failings, choosing arrogant denial over humility. But when separated from his luxuries, he discovers his shortcomings. But does he learn the lessons of responsible living?

In this two-act story, first time director Ayan Mukherji sets up the premise quite well. Probably belonging to the same stratum of life, he understands the nuances of privileged upper class living and the dilemma that its youth is ignorant to. He fails miserably though in the second act, which becomes a fantasy of easy opportunities and even easier fulfillments. Satisfying Karan Johar's staple offerings of heavy-handed sentimentality as well as a paradise-like pseudo-reality, Wake Up Sid is a shallow product in the guise of smart contemporary filmmaking. It may be pleasant and easy to admire on the surface, but a bit of consideration uncovers how flimsy and filmy it is.

In a predictable casting that does half the job for him, Ranbir Kapoor, as the eponymous Sid, is the only reason that this movie is not a complete failure. Although a simple performance, he fittingly represents a section of the urban youth culture. He manages to make Sid identifiable and, therefore, somewhat likeable despite his flaws. Konkona Sen Sharma, on the other hand, replays an oft repeated performance that has now become her identified slot. Unfortunately, this merely reduces her credibility as an actor, something she should have been conscious of a few movies ago. Rahul Khanna, though, is already a lost cause. He has now made a career out of doing cameos as a loser, one who never gets the girl, that it's now become a cliché.

With a dismal soundtrack, mostly poor performances and a naive story, it's a wonder Wake Up Sid is not called Sid's Dream. For now, Akshaye Khanna (from Dil Chahta Hai) continues to hold claim to the more memorable character named Sid.

My Rating --> 2 of 5

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