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Yesterday I watched two movies – True Grit and Udaan. True Grit was okay, and more about Jeff Bridges than the story. A girl’s father is killed by a guy named Tom Cheney, and she hires Jeff Bridges (who is a bum but has “true grit”) to find the killer so she can kill him. Matt Damon, a Texas Ranger, goes along as well. Mid-way they lose track of Tom, and give up on the case. At the same time, the girl runs into Tom and is kidnapped. In the end the bad guys die. Jeff Bridges is an amazing actor and really gets into character. His manner of talking and expressions were amazing. Overall the movie was okay. I am not into Western movies, and they follow the typical route of sweaty tanned men on horses, in hats, and with guns sometimes getting wasted in bars.

Udaan (meaning flight) was an amazing heart-felt movie. I still cannot get it out of my mind – it really pulled at my heart strings. The story is about a boy (Rohan), now 17, who was sent to a boarding school by his very strict father, played by Ronit Roy. In 8 years the father did not visit his son once, and the son spent his vacation as a driver for allowance. He and his friends were naughty, and were once caught watching a movie when they were supposed to be in the hostel sleeping. They get expelled from school.

Rohan goes home to find a little step-brother, Arjun, only 6 years old. His father had remarried and it did not work out. Rohan did not warm up to the little kid and kept aloof. He had a few altercations with his father, and the latter beat him. Both sons could not even called their father “Papa” – they had to call him “Sir”. Rohan meets his uncle and his wife, who are trying for a kid to no avail, and show love to both sons. Once, Rohan comes home to find his father rushing to the hospital with Arjun. His father has to go out of town for work, so Rohan stays with Arjun in the hospital and finds out that his father beat Arjun with a belt which caused Arjun to become unconscious.

The entire scene was just heart-breaking. Arjun is such a cute adorable boy, brimming with innocence, clearly starved for love and probably malnourished. He mentions previously that his father beats him. He refuses to change clothes in front of onlookers in the hospital, and when you see the scars, the pain of the boy is felt. He doesn’t smile in the hospital and seemed depressed. My heart just broke every time I saw him. I could feel the shame and embarrassment at the possibility of showing scars to a second person, at probably feeling that somehow he was at fault for his father to beat him like this. Rohan takes care of him in his own way, and both brothers bond. I kept thinking of my brother because the age difference between Rohan and Arjun (11 years) is similar. I missed my brother deeply.

Rohan slowly starts standing up to his father. He does not want to go to engineering college and wants to become a writer, but his father is staunchly against it and compels him to join an engineering college. Rohan does not study and fails. Another cause for abuse from his father. This time Rohan stands up to him and confronts him about his beating Arjun. The father decides to get Rohan into working in his factory and leaving college since he did not study anyway. He decides to send Arjun to a boarding school and get married himself since he was so lonely. He apparently had a woman in mind who had a young daughter.

Once when the woman and her family are at Rohan’s place, he packs his bags and decides to leave the house. The father stops him, but Rohan runs and leaves his father far behind. He stays the night at his uncle’s, and decides to go to Bombay where his other expelled buddies (3 of them) are running a restaurant and making good money. He decides to take Arjun with him. The scene was immensely adorable, with Rohan holding Arjun’s hand and Arjun talking to him excitedly. He leaves a note for his father, asking him to stay away else he would turn him in to the cops for beating Arjun.

There were a lot of subtle situations as well. It was sad and upsetting, but ended on a positive note. I had so many questions like why did the father not leave Arjun with the uncle after school? Instead Arjun was home by himself and really needed someone to take care of him. Was the father so egoistic? How could he beat such a young kid – how could he. He justified it by saying that he apologized, but what can such a young kid do? The movie was beautiful and heart-wrenching, and swept many Indian awards. It is totally Oscar-worthy. I cannot get the film out of my mind, and still feel the pain of the innocent little boy.

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