When I saw Udaan for the first time, it was a lonely watch on my laptop. I felt a deep void inside me throughout the film. It appeared as if this was me, drenched with thoughts and anxiety. I remember to have written a very bad accountancy paper in my 12th board and had decided to move out of my home if I failed. Luckily, I did not. Three months later, when I had decided that I would want to become a writer, I came across Udaan. It had just been one month to its release and a friend suggested me to watch it.
I had taken up writing to run from myself. I had not realized it till I saw Rohan in Udaan. I related so much with him. Irrespective of the environment he lived and I lived, we had one thing in common, that void inside which wanted material for writing.
That void called solitude. I always longed for solitude and still do. I like to be left alone and not talk. For days. It also makes me wonder about things that are there in front of me. I can do this for days. Like people talking in front of me and I, while looking at them, can stay quiet.
Rohan is not wholly me. He likes to go against the flow. He can steal from his father’s wallet, take out his car in the midnight and go for a drive. He is brave enough to meet seniors from his college and get into a brawl with them, to finally become friends with them too. Rohan is, indeed, brave.
When he calls his friends to know about them, he feels a little jealous. A little safe too. At least, here, he can afford to fail in engineering. He can lie to his father. He has a little brother he does not like but he can tell his stories to him. The good part is that he listens to him. Not all of us, as writers, have someone who has ears to your stories.
He writes when he is alone, like many of us. Rohan has his uncle by his side too. He likes his stories or at least can pretend to like them. He asks Rohan’s fathers to listen to his poetry but his father being the ruthless person he is, does not give a damn.
When Rohan is returning back to Jamshedpur in the train with the warden of his school, he knows that he is going too far away from the way of life he loved to spend. He did not know that it was for good. He was lonely all his life. Without a mother and with a father, from whom he always thought of staying away as much as possible.
The fact that he now had to live with him for the rest of his life and do what he wants him to do, will make or break him. Had he been in the boarding school, he would not have had got the strength to go against his father’s wishes. To understand that it’s not right to bear the wrong. Rohan tells us that being caring alone is not enough. He has seen his uncle not being able to do anything despite being a caring guardian. He never had had a person who could stand for him. He became one for his brother Arjun.
When Jai and Rohan walk away holding hands in the climax, there is an uncertainty about their future. Director Vikramaditya Motwane, earlier, shows why it is important to break barriers and fly but he also tells you that the road is endless and you never know what life holds for you at the next corner. That you never know that the cage you have just broken was just that one cage inside many cages. This freedom is not really freedom yet. And he leaves it there.
I wonder what Rohan did after taking Arjun with him. Did he become a writer? He must have had. What would he do with so many stories inside his head? More importantly, what would he do with that empty space, that void inside him. The same void which makes you write more, which makes you feel it is not enough. Rohan, I hope, did not get rid of his loneliness. I hope it stayed there till the end in that void. I hope.