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Friday, 28 March 2014

Youngistaan

Lets us start this review by paying homage to one of the finest actors that our country has ever seen – Farooq Sheikh.  In his last on-screen release, Youngistaan, Farooq Saab plays the role of Akbar.  He is the Personal Assistant to the Prime Minister of the country.  The comfort with which he essays his role brings a tear to your eye because you will never be able to see his class on screen in anything new.  Thank goodness for DVDs.


As per Article 84 of The Constitution of The Sovereign Socialistic Securlar Republic of India, you need to meet the following criteria for being the Prime Minister
  1. Must be a citizen of the country
  2. Must be at least 25 years of age
  3. Must be a member of either House i.e. Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. If he isn't a member then he must become one within 6 months of appointment to the position.
Surprisingly, debutante director Syed Ahmad Afzal has acknowledged these 3 criterion in his movie Youngistaan – that has nothing to do with the Pespsi campaign.

I walked into Youngistaan expecting yet another Jackyy Bhagnani movie that will have a boring story line and no attention to facts. Surprisingly details like the PMs Salary, % of India paying tax, wasted grains etc. seem to be picked up from genuine data points. I tried my best to research most of the factual references quoted in Youngistaan and I could find no fault at all. Well done Syed Ahmad Afzal for paying attention to these details.

Yet, when it comes to finer nuances and details, Syed Ahmad still falls really short.  The Secret Service agents who are on the Prime Minster’s detail look like they are out of Men In Black.  A girl friend who is supposed to be 3 months pregnant looks nothing remotely close to it.  The Chiefs of Staffs are not wearing crisp uniforms.  The ties are knotted like school children.  Some details that prevent Youngistaan from being a really good watch.

Of course, there are other aspects as well which we will cover in just a bit.  Abhimanyu Kaul (Jackky Bhagnani) and Awnita Chauhan (Neha Sharma) are truly in love.  They live in Japan.  Abhimanyu is a Video Game designer.  His life is turned upside down when his father Dashrath Kaul (Boman Irani) passes away.  Dashrath was the Prime Minister of India – a position that Abhimanyu has to take as it is his father’s dying wish.

The story that follows is one that is a movie with a purpose.  The movie comes with several really good messages.  It encourages the youth to come out and vote – perfect timing.  It doesn’t slam coalitions but discourages a government based on a concept that has failed more often than not.

Youngistaan may fail for the wrong reasons.  Despite its attempt to send a message it also dabbles with topics that this country hasn’t remotely matured towards.  It shows a 28 year old interim Prime Minister in a live in relationship with his girlfriend of 3 years and bearing a child out of wedlock.  Bold.  Utopian.

All good things kept aside, Youngistaan is a tackily made movie.  Jackky Bhagnani has grown as an actor but still miles away from qualifying as a good actor.  Neha Sharma is drop dead gorgeous enough to distract everyone from her acting skills.  The music is about average with a song or two that will stick around.  At the end of the day, you must watch it but not necessarily on screen.  5 on 10.

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