Written by Directed by Mani Ratnam

Running Time: 2:46

Not Rated


Ajay Devgan
as Michael Mukherjee

Vivek Oberoi
as Arjun Balakrishnan

Abhishek Bachchan
as Lallan Singh

Rani Mukherjee
as Sashi Singh

Kareena Kapoor
as Mira

Esha Deol
as Radhika

Posters and Prints for Sale

Macduff Everton - Taj Mahal and Eagle, Agra, India

W. M. Craig - Calcutta

Jon R. Friedman - Setting Sun Bombay Hook


Yuva was an interesting and good Bollywood film. Definitely not your stereotypical entry from India.


There are three separate story lines that all come together. One involves Lallan, a convict, and his wife Shashi. She wants him to end his life of crime, and he seems to enjoy it too much. He goes back to his old ways shortly after getting out of prison, and finds himself in the middle of a political controversy. His job is mainly as a thug, but after a while, he decides that maybe he wants more. Another story line follows Michael, a student leader, who is fed up with politics as usual. He and his student gang want real, fair elections, even if they get beaten along the way. The last story line involves Arjun and Mira. Arjun isn't really sure what he wants. To join the police force? Go to America? He meets Mira and falls in love, but she's engaged to someone else. All three story lines come together in a wild scene on a highway bridge.


Yuva totally reminded me of Go. Three story lines all starting together, then flashing back to show how they got there, then when they all meet, continuing on. Two problems first: one, the theater had the volume turned up way too loud, and second the air conditioning up way too high. It was kind of distracting, which was sad, because the movie wasn't too bad. Like most Bollywood films, it was too long. You could have easily cut out an hour of the film and still made your point. And it's not as if there were a lot of the traditional dance sequences either. There were only two times I remember people dancing in a group, and those were kept short. Just for some reason the idea of making a 90-100 minute Bollywood film isn't done. Which again is too bad because I think these kinds of movies would do better outside of India if they were shorter. The music, from acclaimed musician AR Rahman, was very pop-oriented and upbeat.

The performances were all very good. Yes having Ajay Devgan play a college student is kind of like having, I don't know, someone like Russell Crowe playing a college student? It looked really, really off. But once you get past that, his performance was as strong as his character. Ditto for Abhishek Bachchan whose character was one of the meanest I've seen on screen in some time. He had absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever and the best part is, he never really waivered from that. There were all sorts of chances for him to have that turn into someone good, but he never took it and I applaud the writer for that. The only woman to have a lot of story time was Kareena Kapoor as Mira, but her role was mainly as a foil for Vivek Oberoi. Make no mistake, this is a male driven film. Not a whole lot of romance, but a lot of violence.

There was one scene, when the three stories collide, that was absolutely tremendous. The three male leads get into a massive brawl on a highway bridge that rivals any fight that Hollywood could put together. It was beautifully choreographed and filmed so that the action was non-stop and certain things happen that made you just shake your head in amazement. I was very, very impressed with that scene. The rest of the movie also had a nice filmed look to it. Not all lovely, beautiful shots, but more ravaged and beaten, like a lot of the characters were.


So overall, I enjoyed Yuva, even though the theater let me down. It's not your standard love story, let's have a big dance sequence every 10 minutes, type of film. It's a raw, dirty, unapologetic film that is more real than you might expect.

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reviewed 05/20/04

© 2004 Wolfpack Productions

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