Wake up Sid : New girl in the city’s tribute to the city of dreams

Around two weeks back, I had my first interview since the fiasco in Kolkata. It was for a research-based profile based in Mumbai. Though Mumbai would never be the same place it was for me with all my friends having passed out from T.I.S.S. two years back, I prepared for the interview with nervous anticipation. While the interview panel politely asked me to summarize my past work experience and asked me about my future plans I wasn’t asked a single technical question. To cope up with rejections better since the last few months I never think about a job application or interview once I am done with it. This time was no different. However, I didn’t mention about the interview to a friend who is synonymous with Mumbai for me. Since she is moving back to the city in June for a new job, she got shared my enthusiasm equally. Despite trying hard to be nonchalant about the outcome of the interview I was dejected when I learned that I didn’t make it to the next round of interviews. I am still unaware of what went wrong with the interview. In between the time I gave the interview and the result came out, I had begun re-watching Wakeup Sid after having left about half a dozen depressingly realistic movies midway. It took me a while to go back to the movie after the interview debacle as I have always believed the movie to be an ode to all things bright and beautiful about Mumbai especially the rains. Soon enough I reasoned with myself that with the current state of affairs, even if I managed to move to Mumbai I would probably be coupéd up in a ridiculously expensive apartment with the maybe the kind of terrible flatmates I manage to land up with more often than not. Marine Drive would not be half as fun as it usually is with a mask on. Therefore, I guess I am not missing out on much. I inwardly expressed gratitude for having a roof over my head and two squares meals a day. I am grateful for the fact that my loved ones are still safe and my family who I fight with often is around. I continued watching Wake up Sid for the umpteenth time because not doing so would be rather illogical. I would like to welcome the monsoon by reviewing it.

When Wake up Sid was released on 2nd October 2009 it had barely been a month since Sidharth and I had begun dating. Sidharth asked me out on a movie date as one of the theatres was providing two free tickets who could prove that their name is Sidharth. Although I was thrilled I couldn’t make out as I was not allowed to out alone back in 12th. Sidharth eventually went out with his younger brother to watch the movie. When I first watched what I had loved the most about the movie was Rishi who happened to be Sidharth’s best friend since kindergarten as I had been recently been introduced to Sidharth’s best friend Rishi and had grown fond of him.

This time when I began to watch Wake up Sid for the umpteenth time, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I have way more in common with Siddharth and Ayesha than I had previously realized. So to begin the first scene of the movie introduces us to Siddharth who is struggling to stay awake and concentrate on his studies the night before the last exam of his final year. It instantly took me back to my graduation days when my predicament during end-semester exams was very similar to that of Siddharth. I would struggle throughout the day to study only to fall asleep. I would then wake up in the wee hours of the morning to mug up the syllabus in a nick of a time before the exam. The easy camaraderie he shares with Lakshmi and Rishi is reminiscent of the blissfully carefree days each one of us has spent with our close friends during our younger days. I tend to miss such good old times a lot and love to go back to them vicariously through movies that celebrate friendship. The easy-going manner in which he approaches Ayesha for the first time and befriends her is in a way an embodiment of the spirit of Mumbai. I have lived in a few cities to date in the country and firmly believe that in no other city is it as easy to strike up a random conversation with a stranger as it is in this city. It feels as if Mumbai welcomes everyone with open arms where there is no place for judging someone. As it has been pointed out by Behensplaining it is also praiseworthy how Siddharth conducts himself after being turned down by Ayesha and never lets it come in between their friendship. It is refreshing to witness their journey from being just friends to falling in love with each other deeply. I particularly enjoyed the way Siddharth makes his life turn around for the better in the second half. From him learning to sweep the floor to cooking for the first time it reminded me of the first time I learned to live independently.

What makes the characters likable yet realistic is the fact that although they make efforts towards something, they are far from perfect. While Lakshmi strives for academic excellence successfully she struggles to keep the weighing scales in her favor, Rishi a devoted boyfriend is not only turned down by his girlfriend when he proposes to her for marriage but even has to face a breakup. Even, the adorable-looking Tanya who has a thing is not reduced to a caricaturish South Bombay snob. She has a pleasing personality along with a friend circle and dreams of her own.  Similarly, Siddharth’s relationship with his parents is realistic as well. The scenes where they shower him with love and reprimand, have been handled delicately enough to be touching without going the usual route of melodrama Hindi movies are notorious for.

Now moving on to Ayesha I could relate with almost everything she does and says except for the one time she says that she is afraid of sightseeing on her own in the city. She is Bengali like me. She is enamored by Mumbai the way I have always been. In fact, old Bombay is oddly reminiscent of Kolkata due to its common legacy of British architecture. We also seem to share a fondness for reading, writing, and setting up a home of my own. My most favorite segment of the movie is when Ayesha is setting up her house with the help of Siddharth and his friends. I found it extremely relatable as to how Ayesha is overjoyed at the prospect of being asked out by her boss she has been crushing on only to realize that he isn’t what she is looking for in terms of romantic interest. Contrary to the usual treatment meted out by mainstream Hindi cinema the movie even manages to squeeze in some moments of female bonding between Ayesha and Sonia.

Last but not the least, this movie boasts of some amazing dialogues, cinematography, and music. All of the songs were an instant hit upon the release of the movie and even now are as fresh as they were twelve years back.  

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