Apparently a lot of folks didn’t think much of Wake Up Sid. Endless wardrobes, perfect friends, jobs that are bagged without much of a struggle. A swanky office where everyone is nice. People being able to do up their houses with chic furniture and random other things without even getting a job.
While the premise of the film is it’s a coming-of-age film, you get the feeling that the boy in question woke up out of his nightmare and onto his “good life”, as opposed to waking up to reality.
Supriya Pathak is one of the immense delights of the film. Unlike the usual mother-of-rich-child, she isn’t portrayed as someone who is constantly shopping or too busy for her boy. She doesn’t go about declaring her child as the best thing since readymade dosa mix. Her expressions are priceless and there’s a few tender moments. And there’s this one bit that really got me a little emotional and made me miss my mom.
Anupam Kher as the boy’s dad is fantastic as well. There’s something authentic in the portrayal of their wealth and their manners. There’s this bit where he delivers some intense lines about struggling in life, and I don’t know if Anupam Kher had a bad throat – but the result is that you think he’s somewhere in between collapsing into tears and wanting to thrash his boy with anger.
Ranbir clearly can act, and has more than one or two stock expressions. It’s hard to relate to his inability to make the best of his circumstances, especially since there are no real restrictions on what he wants to do, as long as he does something. His relationship with Konkona unfolds beautifully in parts. There is some good screen time devoted to them – but it’s buried in clichés. You can predict what’s going to happen, what misunderstandings will emerge, what exactly will annoy them.
It annoys you when somehow the biggest challenge in this boy’s life is being able to fold clothes and make a fried egg. It isn’t even symbolic for something. Literally, his biggest challenge in the film is being able to make that fried egg.
One thing that annoys me constantly when I watch films about Bombay/ Mumbai (there I’ve got both versions), is their inability to deal with Bombay as a city rather than just the piece of land right next to Marine Drive. Ranbir waxes eloquent about the monsoon, but at no point do you see that he comes to terms with the devastation it can bring. There’s nothing about the everyday struggles. (And what travesty – nothing on the local trains!)
And yet despite all that, somehow I liked Wake Up Sid. The melodrama is muted. The storyline is underwhelming without being completely empty. There is some sweetness to the situations. But there isn’t enough on the plate to make it bitter-sweet. And bitter-sweet is what works in coming-of-age films.