Wake Up Sid (2009)

Wake Up Sid is a light-hearted romance drama that looks good, feels good, and even sounds good. Nothing unexpected happens and yes, this story of a slacker boy and a grounded and focused woman. ends as expected – in true love – but where is it written that every thing in the world of films must be new and different.

But fear not, if you don’t watch a lot of films from India, then this one will be plenty different with regard to the fact that you will be watching new actors. But boys and girls are very similar and the color of their flag doesn’t mean all that much when it comes to romance.

Sid (short for Sidharth Mehra) is played by Ranbir Kapoor who if ever the term scion of cinematic royalty could be applied – it would be for him. He is the son of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh; the nephew of actors Randhir Kapoor, Rajiv Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor. He is the grandnephew of actors Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendal, Shammi Kapoor, Geeta Bali; besides all of the above, he is also a cousin of actresses Kareena Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor. He is the fourth generation of Bollywood’s highly prestigious first family, the Kapoors. Besides that – the kid can act.

His co-star, Konkona Sen Sharma as Aisha Bannerjee, is also from a film family. She is the daughter of noted film actress-writer-director Aparna Sen, who long ago worked in films directed by the legendary Indian auteur, Satyajit Ray. More recently, Aparna Sen has directed at least a dozen films. But you know what, coming from a film family has only helped Koko. She’s won awards for Supporting actress in two films – Omkara and Life in a Metro, and she’s won a National Film Award, India, for Best Actress in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer. So yeah, Koko and Ranbir have connections but that doesn’t mean they lack ability.

When we first meet Sid, we see that he puts in more time on the party circuit, video games, and drinking than anything else.

He never met a text-book he couldn’t open, then immediately close – preferring instead to take a nap. Finals are coming up, and Sid hasn’t a chance.

His father is a successful manufacturer of stuff like shower heads, bathroom fixtures, and the like. As most fathers do, this one, played by a wonderful Anupam Kher, who played the shrink in Silver Linings Playbook, would love to have his son join the firm.

Dad: Sid, you should join the office.
Sid: Whoa, where did the office come from?
Dad: Your college is over, right? And you don’t have classes to skip anymore? [edit:The test results have not come out yet]

Sid gets his bad news test results

Sid gets his bad news test results

Sid: No…
Dad: Then you’re joining the office.
Sid: But, Pa… what am I going to do there?
Dad: Work. What else?

But it is a no go. Then when Dad sees Sid looking at automobile ads, they have another talk.

Dad: Come to the office, work six months and the car is yours.
Sid: 15 days…
Dad: 90 days…
Sid: 30 days
Dad: Ok, done

Sid reports for work at dad's office. He's not quite up on office attire.

Sid reports for work at dad’s office. He’s not quite up on office attire.

Of course Sid will flunk out of college, and then abandon the job after a week. He’s met the vivacious and attractive Aisha at a party. She’s an aspiring writer.

She only just got to town that day. She doesn’t drink, she doesn’t do one night stands, she’s the epitome of serious. She’s got goals – if not a job. Sid has neither. She’s got ideas, a plan, even an interview – but Sid has none of the above.

Sid lives in a world of his own – a world that doesn’t include planning beyond today. But he is going to destroy that world piece by piece. He alienates his friends at college by kind of blaming them for his flunking out. He blows off his Dad’s offer of employment (and with that the car). He’s hard and rude to his Mom who worships him. He’s not just a slacker – he’s the King of Slackers.

Sid at work at Dad's firm

Sid at work at Dad’s firm

As you can guess, his Dad will reach the breaking point. He wants a son to follow in his shoes, not just have a son with an ever-expanding credit card bill. So Dad, dear old Dad, tosses Sid out on the street and cuts off his credit.

With no other alternatives, he looks up Aisha, who is kind enough to let him crash at her place. And so it begins.

Yes, there are a lot of bumps in the road. Sid will go through a lot before he finally gets his bearings. On the other hand, Aisha who is focused and grounded, finds her way as well – but she too must deal with bumps in the road – one of which is – as you can might have guessed – Sid.

Check out this exchange between Sid and Aisha.

Sid: [wondering why Aisha wouldn’t want to be more than just friends with him] No, seriously, Aisha, what’s wrong with me?
Aisha: There’s nothing “wrong” with you… Sid, I don’t want to talk about this. You’ll feel bad.
Sid: Why would I feel bad? It’s not as if I’m in love with you. Come on, I think we can talk about this.
Aisha: Okay. I think… you’re still a kid… a bit immature… childish. You’re just not what I’m looking for.
Sid: Okay. This is gonna be fun. What are you looking for, Aisha?
Aisha: I guess somebody who is… independent, for starters. Someone with a career, a goal in life. Somebody I can relate to. In short, a man, not a boy.
Sid: Basically, the exact opposite of me.
Aisha: Basically.

Aisha has described Sid perfectly.

I really liked the film – the leads are very attractive, and despite the fact that Sid is really a jerk, an as—le, and hasn’t a clue – he doesn’t even know how to cook an egg – you’ll want to grab him by the shoulders and shake him so very hard, but he will grow on you. Konkona’s Aisha – you will love from the jump. The film is simply a lot of fun and it really works.

The film was directed by Ayan Mukerji, who won an award for best Directorial Debut for this 2009 film. By the way, he too is from a film family. His Dad was an actor, his grandfather a film producer, and he is related to Bollywood actresses Kajol and Rani Mukerji.

By the way, he is a college dropout too, and he is only 30 years old and now he’s directing feature films.

The film has a winning tone to it, and the characters are believable. It is more than worth your time. I’ll rate it at three-point seven five (just under a four point zero but very close) and recommend it. You can get the DVD from Netflix as a rental, or you can buy the DVD on eBay or amazon.com.

Here, have a look at the trailer. Unlike the DVD, this trailer doesn’t have subtitles but you won’t need them.

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