The first commandment of 'coming of age' films is well known to be - 'Thou shalt always be compared to 'Dil Chahta Hai''. This is no DCH. While Ayan Mukerji's directorial debut bears a certain resemblance to the Farhan Akhtar classic, both in terms of look and certain sub plots movements, the film on the whole is a fresh, simple and sugary take on the inner battles of today's youth.
Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) is a going-nowhere-and-loving-it rich kid, showing no signs of trying to make anything of himself, much to the chagrin of his parents, who want him to join the family business. Sid, having freshly failed his graduation exams, rebels and leaves home, only to crash with his new friend, the out-of-towner, independent-new-girl-about-town, Aisha (Konkona Sen) who's out to make it in the big bad city of Bombay, oops...Mumbai, and there starts both a heartwarming coming of age tale as well as a smartly told love story.
The film, however has its set of niggles. Sid's story isn't as compelling as it should have been. He has no particular emotional anchor to hook you with, not his fight with his best friend, not his failing his exams, not his fights with his parents. We just hope and wait for things to get really bad for Sid, so his redemption can seem all the more heroic and satisfying, but nothing of the sort ever happens, and once we realise that the film is produced by the folks at Dharma Productions, it seems to make sense. Only the track with Sid's reconciliation with his mother packs any sort of emotional punch. Downplay and subtlety is welcome, but Mukerji clearly overdoes it. The pacing of the film is also a tad sluggish, the first hour of the film taking too long to set up the story.
A word on the acting - this is entirely Ranbir Kapoor's film. His consistent and believable portrayal of Sid is a great turn. He single handedly makes this film more watchable than it should have been. Konkona does a variation of her roles in Metro and Luck By Chance and if she wasn't such a fabulous actress, she would be starting to really get on the nerves of viewers with her lack of range in commercial cinema. The rest of the cast are pitched perfectly and are eminently every-day, with the exception of Rahul Khanna, who does yet another meaningless bit part. He seems to be making a career out of doing the handsome boss/other man cameo. Yawn!
Shankar Ehsan Loy's music is fine, suitably young and hip, but none of their tunes hit the peak that guest music director Amit Trivedi reaches with the beautiful 'Iktaara', which immeasurably enhances the film, both aurally and mood wise.
Its a well told, young and simple little story of coming to terms with ones own little problems, and overcoming ones own trials and tribulations, however trivial they may be. Hidden in there somewhere, is a slick, neat little love story and and some great music.