I guess it's obvious by now that I'm a huge sucker for subtlety. Probably why melodrama classics like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam only manage to make me laugh, and that's only on a very good day. Films that don't look like they're trying too hard on the other hand, win me over by default. I like films that speak to me in soft images, and actors that communicate in little gestures. And Wake Up Sid is exactly one such film.
Namak: You mean except for the cheesy picturizations of Kya Karoon and Life Is Crazy, right? Because if we're talking cliches, I wonder how many more times we have to see people showing they're carefree by popping their whole upper body out the car window during a drive, and how many times those walls in Aisha's apartment could have been splashed with a million colours that no primer will ever be able to cover effectively.
Dolce: Oh, that's true, but tell me the yellow walls didn't remind you of home!
Namak: Our first bachelor apartment with vanilla yellow and mandarin orange painted walls? Yes! That did bring back memories.
I wonder if this is now my favourite Ranbir Kapoor movie? Just when I thought I couldn't think any higher of him, I rewatched this movie and fell in love with him all over again.
Namak: I can't believe we called his looks unfortunate the first time we watched this. What were we thinking?
Dolce: You know what is still unfortunate about him in this movie though? That he doesn't get to dance until the end credits, and even then it's hardly a proper dance number, as fun as it may be. But his looks are definitely nowhere near unfortunate.
He pulls off the most subtle performance I've seen from him in Wake Up Sid. There's an innocence and a sincerity in it that he couldn't even muster up in his first film, Saawariya. The fact that Aisha lays down the ground rules about being just friends from the first 5 minutes of their story translates in Ranbir only having stolen glances at his disposal to reveal his feelings for Aisha to us. One gets a pretty good idea of his determination to prove himself to Aisha, but it's only his eyes that tell us why. And that wonderful drunken moment...
I could talk about Ranbir Kapoor in this role all day and not get tired of praising him, but for once maybe I'll refrain from that... so I leave it at: Ranbir is nothing short of perfect as Sid.
Because as much as Sid is the centre of attention and his journey fills up the film like a balloon in too small a box, the story isn't only about Sid discovering life, it's also about Aisha discovering love. It may be "Wake Up Sid", but Aisha also wakes up to find her inner child and to realize that independent and serious don't have to be synonyms. I find her journey equally interesting.
Konkona Sen Sharma as Aisha gets to be her usual confident self with a little bit of a soft side, and ever so unaware of just how much the camera loves her. In this case, both the director's camera and Sid's.
If anything, Aisha makes Sid's journey backwards: starting off as the confident, mature woman, and ending up as an antsy teenager. She goes from feeling safe and uninhibited in their friendship to feeling shy and just a little bit insecure, which makes her feisty and moody. She goes from thinking she knows what she wants to finding out that getting excited about old Hindi film songs may be childish, but it's also nothing to be ashamed of. I especially loved the progression from her uneasiness in front of Sid's camera in their first scene, to her coquettish posing in one of the songs towards the end.
Speaking of photography, that's something else that impressed me about the movie. Bollywood is not exactly famous for showcasing art within art.Take away the singing and the dancing and the other arts are rather poorly represented in films. So to have one that does justice to photography is no small thing. Of course, they could have done a crash course with Ranbir about how to hold a camera without looking like he's holding a soccer ball, but well... can't have it all, because where would you put it, right?
Namak: Don't you feel gypped that they didn't include a mini photo album with all of Sid's pictures with the DVD?
Dolce: Considering I have postcards of Jodhaa Akbar and Taare Zameen Par, Lagaan official filmstrips and even an Anjaana Anjaani poster, you bet I feel ripped off that these guys didn't think of it. Especially when the cinematographer comes up with some of the most creative images in this one. For example call me crazy, but I'm always up for having random chicken thrown in the mix.
Wow, that was random. But that is exactly the type of thing that makes Wake Up Sid such an invigorating little film. That and every single scene and image in it. And Ranbir Kapoor rocking my world... Oh, and to think I haven't even touched on how Iktara and Kya Karoon have never left my "top 25 most played songs" list since the film came out...
It was easy to find a cheese for wake Up Sid! Of course it had to be my favourite cheese: Brie. Tasty but not overpowering. Soft but not messy. Delicate and special but dependable and unpretentious at the same time. I love the understated taste of Brie cheese about as much as I loved the subtlety of Wake Up Sid!. And I can't imagine ever tiring of either.
ETA: This is as good a place as any to mention that my Ranbir Kapoor avatars page is finally up. Yay! Next up: Mumaith Khan!