By Joginder Tuteja
Film: "Wake Up Sid"; Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak, Rahul Khanna; Director: Ayan Mukerji; Rating: ***1/2
Next time when a star son gets an opportunity to get an author-backed role, let's not complain. That's because if he actually goes on to come up with as flawless an act as seen in "Wake Up Sid", there is no reason why one should really be looking around for anyone else.
Ranbir Kapoor comes up with a neat, simple and believable performance. When most actors would have been happy to establish their standing in Bollywood with a quintessential romantic hero role, Ranbir is anything but a hero here.
This is why he allows himself to be treated as a 'kid' by Konkona Sen Sharma, who by the way is happy to play a woman five years elder to him. However, there is this special something which brews between them that pretty much gives the true meaning of a platonic relationship.
There are five things that make "Wake Up Sid" a delightful affair. It has a constant flow throughout; no over the top or understated drama; no ultra emotional strangulation of audiences; absolutely no yuppie cool dude act; and last but not the least, this is an original and refreshing story.
While the film actually becomes really engrossing in the second half, the first half facilitates an adequate groundwork for the story to progress. There are bitter sweet moments in the first half as well but one still wishes for that extra something to kick start that would make "Wake Up Sid" go beyond a regular "coming of age" film.
This is where young director Ayan Mukerji's writing comes in handy because unlike a conventional movie, he doesn't just bring a turnaround in Sid's character by throwing a song to bring in that 'overnight transformation'.
He keeps it soft and subtle starting from something as simple as Sid learning how to prepare an omelette, keep his comic books stacked, prepare his own bed and of course, earn his very first cheque.
By the time he returns to his dad (Anupam Kher in a short but effective role), you realise that the destination was eventually met even as the journey wasn't quite 'on your face' or 'over the top'.
Meanwhile Konkona gets yet another complex role for herself. She is brilliant. Watch out for her in the interview scene or the outburst when Ranbir decides to go back to his parents' house. Her irritation in certain scenes with Ranbir is utterly believable too and so are the tender ways in which she looks after him.
The supporting cast fits in well too. The young man who plays Rishi (Namit Das - last seen in "The President Is Coming" as Ramesh) is just effortless. Kashmira Shah, in her four-scenes act, is a pleasant surprise while Rahul Khanna is decent in the limited footage.
While "Wake Up Sid" would of course raise Ranbir's stock in months to come, it would be noticed in a major way for Mukerji's script sense and direction. He makes the kind of debut that made Farhan Akhtar hot property after "Dil Chahta Hai".