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29 October 2014

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Mani Ratnam
Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, Abhishek Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Isha Deol & Sonu Sood
12 cert camera
Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerjee in Yuva
'Refreshingly different' says Jay Mamtora.


Read our BBC Shropshire review on Yuva.

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Read our BBC Shropshire preview on Yuva

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At BBC Shropshire, we have chosen the Top Ten Bollywood movies for this month. These films are well worth a "dekko" at a cinema near you.

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View a printable version of this page.
Mani Ratnam is a name that has always been associated with deep meaningful cinema. Roja and Bombay were near masterpieces.

Dil Se, his first Hindi venture, however was disappointing and sank at the turnstiles.

His second mainstream Hindi venture Yuva is an interesting tale of how fate intervenes in our lives and can change them forever.

It tells the story of three contrastingly different individuals whose lives are inter-linked through inevitable circumstances in Calcutta.

Lallan (Bachchan) is a hot blooded, street smart vagabond to whom violence is a way of life - even if it is at the cost of his marriage to Sashi (Rani Mukherjee).

Michael (Devgan) is an idealistic PhD student campaigning to get into politics and a potential threat to a corrupt MP (Puri).

Arjun, (Vivek Oberoi) on the other hand is a selfish, free spirited guy who takes each day as it comes. He plans to move to the US with the hope of making it big.

Subsequently, Lallan is hired to assassinate Michael at the MP's request. During the assassination attempt, Michael is shot and severely wounded.

By a strange twist of fate, Arjun is in the vicinity with Meera (Kareena Kapoor) on Howrah Bridge.

He saves Michael's life and it is at this point that a chain reaction of sequences and events are triggered off consequently changing all of their lives in the process.

First things first. Yuva, will definitely not appeal to those, that are used to the usual escapism churned out week after week.

What's more, the episodic sequences that follows showing how each of the characters lives are delved into, will not go down well with people that are used to an in your face narrative.

In addition, not everyone will be able to relate to the political background setting in Calcutta.

Another flaw with the movie is its climax - it leaves a feeling of unsatisfaction because it isn't clear what happens to each of the characters.

There are a few sequences which drag on and leave the viewer restless and this is ultimately the movie's undoing.

On a more positive note, the camerawork and cinematography are fantastic. The scenes which stand out is the accident on the bridge and how each character is introduced.

The technique has definitely not been witnessed before - at least in Bollywood.

A.R. Rahman's music is good but nowhere near as good as Dil Se, Roja or Bombay. Of them Anjaana and Fanaa are catchy and are elevated even further due to their awesome cinematography.

But Yuva's main strength lies in its performances with a few standing well above the others.

Ajay Devgan is completely miscast as a student especially since he is now approaching forty. His performance is good but quite clearly his heart isn't in it - he is capable of much more.

Vivek Oberoi too is good but his character is more of an extension of Saathiya.

The performance that takes the cake though is Abhishek Bachchan's as Lallan. He finally comes out of his father's shadow and delivers a knock out performance that's bound to earn him a few nominations at least.

Of the actresses Rani has the best part and she makes the most of it. She gives Sashi the right amount of vulnerability and innocence and her scenes with Abhishek are amongst the best in the movie.

Kareena is enchanting. She looks simple and underplays well (for a change) making the most of a half-baked role.

Esha looks good but doesn't get much scope to perform and get lost in the crowd.

Yuva had the makings of a classic had it not been for some glaring loopholes in the screenplay and the need to bow down to the requirements of commercial mainstream cinema.

On the whole, it is unlikely to be the blockbuster that it was touted to be because of its unusual theme.

And considering the star cast, and a maker of Ratnam's repute, the film is likely to disappoint many.

But for people looking for something refreshingly different, this film is a must watch if not for anything else.

There is also Abhishek's fantastic performance and some well executed sequences to contend with. Give it a chance... see this film. It won't dissappoint!

Jay Mamtora
Guest Reviewer

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