Udaan (2010 film)

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Udaan Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVikramaditya Motwane
Produced byAnurag Kashyap
Sanjay Singh
Ronnie Screwvala
Written byVikramaditya Motwane
Anurag Kashyap
StarringRajat Barmecha
Ronit Roy
Aayan Boradia
Ram Kapoor
Manjot Singh
Anand Tiwari
Music byAmit Trivedi
CinematographyMahendra J. Shetty
Edited byDipika Kalra
Release date
  • 16 July 2010 (2010-07-16)
Running time
138 Minutes
Budget₹5 crore (50 million[1]
Box office₹3.35 crore (33.5 million[2]

Udaan (English: Flight) is a 2010 Indian Hindi-language coming-of-age drama film directed by Vikramaditya Motwane (his directorial debut) and produced by Sanjay Singh, Anurag Kashyap and Ronnie Screwvala as Anurag Kashyap Films and UTV Spotboy. The film, written by Motwane and Kashyap, starred newcomer Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Aayan Boradia, Ram Kapoor, Manjot Singh and Anand Tiwari. It follows the story of Rohan, who is forced to live with his oppressive father in Jamshedpur after he is expelled from boarding school.

Motwane wrote the script in 2003, but could not find a producer. He co-wrote Kashyap's Dev.D (2009), and Kashyap produced and co-wrote Udaan The film was shot (and set) in the industrial town of Jamshedpur. Mahendra J. Shetty was its director of photography, and Dipika Kalra was the editor; Aditya Kanwar was the production designer.

Udaan premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and received a standing ovation; it was the first Indian film represented at Cannes in seven years. The film was also screened at the Giffoni Film Festival and the 2011 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Although it was released on 16 July 2010 to critical acclaim, it underperformed at the box-office (grossing ₹33.5 million from a production budget of ₹50 million). At the 56th Filmfare Awards, the film received seven awards: Best Screenplay and Best Story (Motwane and Kashyap), Best Cinematography (Mahendra Shetty), Best Background Music (Trivedi), Best Supporting Actor (Male) (Roy), Best Sound Design Award (Kunam Sharma) and the Best Film (Critics) Award.


Seventeen-year-old Rohan is expelled from the Bishop Cotton boarding school in Shimla with three friends (Vikram, Benoy and Maninder) after they are seen watching an adult film off campus. Rohan returns home to Jamshedpur, his stern, abusive, alcoholic father, and his six-year-old half-brother Arjun (about whom Rohan had not known). His father forces him to run every morning (racing him the last leg), work at his father's metalworking factory and attend engineering classes at the local university; he expresses his disappointment in his son with abuse (verbal and physical) and humiliation. Rohan's uncle supports his ambition to become a writer.

Rohan deliberately fails his examinations so his father will give up on him, freeing him to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. His father, summoned to school to pick Arjun up, loses an important contract. Rohan comes home to find Arjun being rushed to the hospital for an unknown reason; according to his father, the boy fell down the stairs. Fearful of making things worse, Rohan tells his father that he passed his exams. His father goes to Calcutta on an urgent business trip, leaving Rohan to look after Arjun in the hospital. Rohan impresses the hospital employees (including doctors and nurses) with his stories and poems, and discovers that Arjun was beaten by their father after he lost the contract.

Returning from Calcutta, Rohan's father learns that he failed his exams. Enraged, he beats Rohan during the night and apologizes the following day. Announcing that he is going to remarry again, their father decides to send Arjun to boarding school and have Rohan quit college to work full-time at the factory. When Rohan's uncle offers to take Arjun in, Rohan's father belittles him and throws him out of the house as Rohan begs his uncle to take him away. Rohan's father burns his diary (where he has written his poems), and later introduces his new wife and stepdaughter. Rohan spends a night in jail after damaging his father's car when his father refuses to help him.

He comes home to find his future stepmother and her relatives in the house, and learns that Arjun is leaving for boarding school the following day. Wishing his half-brother luck, Rohan prepares to leave home. He exchanges bitter words with his father in front of his guests before he punches him and runs off. His father chases Rohan through the streets on foot, but cannot catch up to him. Rohan spends the night at his uncle's house, and his uncle speaks to him about Arjun. The next morning, Rohan returns home and finds Arjun waiting outside while his father gets an auto-rickshaw to bring him to boarding school. Rohan convinces Arjun to go with him to Mumbai, leaves a watch and a note warning that if his father looks for them Rohan will reveal his attacks on Arjun to the police, and the brothers leave the house together.



Steel plant at night
Udaan was set and filmed in Jamshedpur.

While working on Devdas as an assistant director in 2002, Vikramaditya Motwane saw Sixteen (directed by Ken Loach, about a troubled teenager who sets out to raise money for a new home). Motwane said that the film left "a deep imprint on my mind" and thought, "Why couldn’t a similar film about a youngster be made in India?" Drawing on his own life and surroundings, he wrote a screenplay revolving around a problematic father-son relationship.[3] Motwane decided to set the film in the industrial city of Jamshedpur when he was struck by the contrast between the area surrounding the Tata Steel plant area and Jamshedpur's sister city, Adityapur, saying that the former was an "amalgamation of diverse cultural influences."[3] He wrote the script, described it to his friend Anurag Kashyap, and realised that "some of the scenes have resemblance to his real life" (like taking a car out at night and having fun with friends).[4] Kashyap enjoyed the script and told Motwane,"If no one produces it, you come to me, [and] I will do so."[5]

Motwane signed Kashyap as a dialogue writer in 2003, and paid him 10,000 (US$140). He could not find a producer for his film, since it had no commercially-viable actor.[6] Kashyap had worked with Motwane on his unreleased film, Paanch, in which Motwane was the song choreographer. Since he knew "how good [Motwane] was", he decided to produce Udaan.[6] Motwane had completed the script in 2003, so it took him seven years to find a producer for the film;[7] it was produced by Kashyap, Sanjay Singh and UTV Motion Pictures.[8] Motwane said that many people "wanted to add and subtract things to increase the selling value of the film", with which he did not agree.[9] Although Kashyap wanted to produce his film, his own films were unreleased.[10] Motwane called the film's scripting its "most important stage".[9]

Udaan is not autobiographical, but Motwane said that the script has traces of his life: "As a first-time writer there was a lot that I took from my own life, in terms of certain themes and references, with observations of friends."[11] He initially made some changes to the script when he looked for financing, and called its final version "a combination of first and second drafts."[11] Kashyap told Motwane in 2003, after reading the script, that he would solely produce the film. Motwane was the co-writer for Kashyap's Dev.D (2009) before Kashyap agreed to produce Udaan.[12] He said that it is "one of the few films made on teenagers and their issues growing up", since teen films "usually tackle love stories".[12] For a scene in the film involving Rohan's mother, Motwane used his wife's photograph.[13]

Newcomer Rajat Barmecha was cast as Rohan after several screen tests by casting director Jogi. Motwane did not like his initial auditions, but Barmecha later improved and was chosen.[14] The film was set and shot extensively in Jamshedpur, with a local production crew.[15] It was filmed for 39 days (out of a 42-day shooting schedule) in a HUDCO bungalow and the Circuit House area; for three days, it was filmed in Shimla for three days.[15] The production crew included 13 students and ten actors from the city.[15] The film was shot on super 16 mm film with sync sound.[16] He called it a "simple straightforward film".[16] Mahendra J. Shetty was Udaan's director of photography, and Dipika Kalra was the film's editor; Aditya Kanwar was its production designer.[17] The film featured Ronit Roy, Aayan Boradia, Ram Kapoor, Manjot Singh and Anand Tiwari in supporting roles.[17]


Soundtrack album by
ProducerAmit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi chronology
Admissions Open

The film's score was composed by Amit Trivedi, with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya and Kashyap.[18] The soundtrack album had seven songs, including one instrumental; Joi Barua, Neuman Pinto, Bhattacharya, Trivedi, Mohan Kannan, Raman Mahadevan, Bonnie Chakraborty, Kashyap, Kshitij Wagh, Tochi Raina, Shriram Iyer and Nikhil D'Souza provided vocals. It was released on 29 June 2010 on the T-Series label.[19]

The album received a mostly-positive response from critics. Nikhil Taneja of Hindustan Times wrote that "each song in Udaan literally takes flight from a soft, seminal intro, building up to a crescendo of indie, alternative rock", calling the title song "one of the most soul-stirring tracks of this year".[20] Kashmin Fernandes of Mid Day said that the music and lyrics "run through with the innocent optimism", and called the album an "uplifting gem".[18] Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama wrote, "Udaan is one of those albums that don't necessarily take a huge start at the music stands."[21]

1."Kahaani (Aankhon Ke Pardon Pe)"Amitabh BhattacharyaJoi Barua, Neuman Pinto3:31
2."Geet Mein Dhalte Lafzon Mein"Amitabh BhattacharyaAmit Trivedi, Amitabh Bhattacharya4:55
3."Udaan (Nadi Mein Talab Hai)"Amitabh BhattacharyaAmit Trivedi, Joi Barua, Neuman Pinto4:58
4."Naav (Chadhti Lehrein Laang Na Paye)"Anurag KashyapMohan Kannan4:12
5."Motumaster (Iski Maa Agar Isse)"Anurag KashyapRaman Mahadevan, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Amit Trivedi, Bonnie Chakraborty, Anurag Kashyap, Kshitij Wagh, Tochi Raina, Shriram Iyer5:15
6."Aazaadiyan (Pairon Ki Bediyan)"Amitabh BhattacharyaAmit Trivedi, Neuman Pinto, Nikhil D'Souza, Amitabh Bhattacharya5:37
7."Theme" (Instrumental)  2:47
Total length:26:15


Udaan premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival as The Flight, and received a standing ovation.[22][23] It was the first Indian film represented at Cannes in seven years,[24] and it was also screened at the Giffoni Film Festival and the 2011 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.[25][11] Kashyap released a letter he wrote to his parents in 1993 (when he left home and went to Mumbai),[26] and he and Motwane destroyed a car—imitating a scene in the film—for a promotion.[27] Udaan was released on 16 July 2010 with 200 prints in India.[28] In addition to the Indian release, it was released in Singapore, Australia, South Africa and the United States.[4] The film was released on DVD on 14 September 2010, and is available on Netflix.[29][30]


Critical reception[edit]

Udaan was acclaimed by critics.[31][32] Nikhat Kazmi called the film "unconventional Bollywood at its biting best": "Hailing from the Anurag Kashyap school of cinema, Udaan has the edgy feel and the bittersweet emotional core characteristic of India's neo-wave cinema."[33] Mayank Shekhar also gave it a positive review: "The movie's certainly worth a trip back to somewhat figure why."[34] Rajeev Masand called Udaan one of the year's best films, and said that Motwane makes "a terrific directing debut, offering up a film whose images will linger in your head long after you've left your seat."[35]

Kaveere Bamzai of India Today described the film as "an extraordinary story told without veering into the maudlin": "It's a tightly controlled drama without any melodrama."[36] Pratim D. Gupta called it a "must watch": "For every rupee you have wasted on big, bad Bolly noise, you must back this beautiful and brave voice."[37] Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com called the film "refreshingly distinct and unyielding" and an "enriching experience."[38] According to an Indo-Asian News Service review, "Udaan is both a celebration and a triumph of that spirit rebellious."[39] Blessy Chettiar of Daily News and Analysis praised Barmecha's performance, calling him a "raw talent" who plays "a wide emotional range with panache."[40]

Namrata Joshi of Outlook praised Roy's performance as the father and wrote, "It's a sharp, concentrated look at a troubled father-son relationship, how each of them, and the people around them, cope with their mercurial ways."[41] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express called the film "terrific" and "moving".[42] She also included it in her book 50 Films That Changed Bollywood, 1995–2015.[43] Although Sonia Chopra of Sify called Roy a "real discovery", some scenes appeared "inconsistent and a bit too cute for a cutting-edge film of this nature."[44] Baradwaj Rangan called Udaan "at heart, a feel-good fairy tale", and praised Roy's multidimensional character.[45] Alissa Simon of Variety was more critical, however: "Earnest, predictable, conventionally-crafted Udaan brings nothing new to the coming-of-age genre in this tale of a fraught relationship between a sensitive teen and his abusive, controlling father, which adopts the style of popular Indian melodrama."[46]

Box office[edit]

Udaan was filmed on a budget of 50 million (US$700,000), and earned 33.5 million (US$470,000) at the box office.[1][2]


Year Awards Category Nominee Status Ref
2011 56th Filmfare Awards Best Screenplay Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap Won [47][48]
Best Story
Best Cinematography Mahendra Shetty
Best Background Music Amit Trivedi
Best Supporting Actor (Male) Ronit Roy
Best Film (Critics) Vikramaditya Motwane and Sanjay Singh
Best Sound Design Award Kunal Sharma
Giffoni Film Festival Best Music Score Amit Trivedi [49]
Indian Film Festival (Los Angeles) Grand Jury Award N/A [50]


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External links[edit]