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Knoxville United States
.:: Old Pulp ::.
Jun 28, 2004 01:12 AM 5774 Views
(Updated Jul 18, 2004 05:17 AM)





Any movie by Manirathnam carries a heavy baggage of expectations. Looking back, this was the person who had come up with classics like Bombay, Nayagan etc. Yuva promised to be another film in the same league. Atleast the way it was promoted, it surely promised to be one interesting thriller. But my Yuva experience turned out to be quite similar to my Kill Bill experience, one that can be described by a sense of disappointment towards the people who had delivered higher in their better times.

Adopting a fragmented approach towards story telling is not something new. Tarantino immortalized it with Pulp Fiction and Nolan made sure it couldn't get any better with Memento. By Bollywood standards, splitting the story into three tiers that come together at some point, Mani seems to have done a decent job . The coming together of the three stories of the three main protagonists has been achieved in a seamless fashion. But what disappoints in Yuva is the poor screenplay, which seems to be the bane of most movies made in Bollywood.

Yuva seems to have an interesting plot albeit one riddled with student politics, a theme that has been beaten to death by many movies. The story revolves around three main characters Lallan Singh (Abhishek Bacchan), Michael Mukherjee (Ajay Devgan) and Arjun (Vivek Oberoi). Michael is your atypical student with an intense love for his motherland who chooses to be pretty loud about it. Dismissing any opportunities to lead a comfortable life by flying westward, he seems to be bent upon improving the current system and stands tall as a student leader.

Lallan is one of those misguided youths, who turn to the world of political crime to earn a living. Arjun is a typical self centered student who dreams of a comfortable life by fleeing to the US leaving all the mess behind. At some point of time, he stands inspired by Michael and decides to fight the system, headed at the local level by the politician played by Om Puri. Each of the characters has a distinctive shade to it, but perhaps only Abhishek Bacchan ends up doing some sort of justice to his character.What follows is a typical story of the victory of good over evil, portrayed in an unrealistic and an unconvincing fashion.

Yuva is disturbing in the message it tries to convey. It is an idea, that perhaps fell short of a convincing execution. The world of youth politics, if you have been involved at some stage is a dark and a murky mess which by no standard matches up to the realism that the movie tries to project. Yuva tries to over simplify the concept, that only by will and coming together of like minds, can such a mess be untangled. Yuva attempts to convey a social message, that can only serve to misguide the youth of the country. Sacrificing the most productive years of you life in improving the system, can only lead to more Advanis and fewer Ambanis, while it should be clear that we need more youths to emulate the latter.

However, as opposed to a few glitches in screenplay, Yuva does have its moments. Don't get me wrong. I would still recommend the movie to anyone who appreciates good cinema. It is not everyday that we are treated to such movies that carry the legacy of the Rashomon and Pulp Fiction. I was particularly impressed by several scenes that involved a smooth transition between situations, be it the coming together of individual fragments or a those that involved a portrayal of different shades of individual characters. The portrayal of Lalllan Singh and the different nuances of his personality - a loving husband or the restless make it quick conman, is a class act and while his acting might have come as a surprise, let us not forget that it Mani who was guiding him.

The same can be said about Ajay Devgan, though his character delves in those larger than life moments, but admirable nonetheless. As far as Vivek Oberoi is concerned, he really seems to be unable to grow up from his typical stereotyped image (with the exception of Chandu) and even Mani could not change it. Kareena Kapoor and Esha Deol, though shine in parts and given their limited visibility throughout the movie, there is not much to cringe about.

Rani Mukherjee seems to be on track in becoming a good actress. The Mani touch undeniably makes its presence felt if you are willing to look beyond a few flaws in the script. Music has always been a strong forte in Manirathnam movies, and Rahman has done it again. While the techno influence is pronounced in numbers like Fanaa or Shukriya, the album also carries some pleasing tracks like Kabhi neem, kabhi shehad.

Yuva disappoints but has a high entertainment value. While the movie fails to match up to other classics by Mani, it surely cannot be dismissed as yet another Bollywood movie. It is a definite watch for anyone who appreciates good cinema and are willing to overlook a few flaws. At times, it fails in sustaining the viewer's interest but as far as the whole package is concerned, it does have its glorious moments.


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Yuva - Bollywood