Will Yuva mirror youth of India?

YuvaCritically-acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam is ready to unveil his latest venture Yuva, which trade observers hope will capture the essence of India's youth and mirror both the shining and the not-so-shining India.

In the wake of rapid political developments when 'Bharat' spoke to India and the...
...masses passed a damning verdict against the ruling coalition, it is being said Ratnam's film will emerge as the ultimate youth movie that reflects today's trials and tribulations.

Yuva, with Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor and Esha Deol, comes on the heels of a spate of youth-oriented movies.

It traces the lives of three young men who are brought together by an accident on Kolkata's Vivekananda Setu, the second Hoogly bridge, an event that changes their lives irreversibly. Their change, their conflict, and their interactions with one another form the crux of the film.

"It could be the next Zanjeer and provide a vent for simmering discontent among the people. It could also shape up Abhishek's career like Zanjeer gave the image of the angry young man to his father Amitabh," says Bollywood observer Taran Adarsh.

Ratnam has been a well-known name for quite some time and has made some very sensitive and thought-provoking films like Nayakan, Agni Nakshatram, Anjali, Dalpati, Roja, Bombay, Iruvar, Alai Payuthey and Kannathil Mutthamithal.

Ratnam has also simultaneously shot the Tamil version of Yuva titled Ayutha Ezhuthu. This stars Surya, Madhavan, Siddharth, Meera Jasmine, Trisha Krishnan and Esha Deol. Esha Deol thus becomes the only common aspect in both versions.

With India boasting of a larger population of 25-year-olds than any other country, it is but obvious that the entertainment industry is straining its energies to capitalize on the youth quotient.

Most of the recent youth movies have been coming of age movies, mostly from the male point of view. Almost every story including Boney Kapoor's Run that released this Friday and Main Hoon Na, which is a rage and is slated to be an all-India hit, has some part of the hero-heroine flirtation set on a college campus.

But, even as they make films for the youth, our filmmakers have never got around addressing the concerns of the youth in their own language. The only film in recent times that came close to representing the youth of today was the box office dud Haasil, with its stark portrayal of student politics.

"In the past, there has been no memorable youth movie that covers every aspect of growing up. At one time, a few films like Jawani Deewani, Ehsaas, Bulundi may have scratched the surface but the definitive youth film is yet to come," says author Deepa Gahlot.

"Bollywood needs to come up with something that Indian youth identifies with and relates to, else youth will continue to be driven away from Hindi films and towards Hollywood," says Gahlot.

"The Indian teen is facing multiple challenges like a rigid educational system, rapidly changing social norms, peer and parental pressure, class and status-linked friction besides sexual doubts, image problems, cultural confusion and classic nerd-vs-cool thing, and a whole youth subculture, which our films have not even touched upon," she adds.

"There is a great Bollywood teen movie just waiting to be made. It can be funny yet deal with relevant issues, entertaining but not empty-headed, visually exciting but not like Mohabbatein. And hopefully not sexist. "Who will take up the challenge when there are a variety of Hollywood films just there to be picked up and adapted?" Gahlot wonders.

If Ratnam's film fails to strike a chord with the youth, then the onus will lie on young director Farhan Akhtar, who is ready with Lakshya. The promos and music of the Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan-Preity Zinta-starrer have already made it a hot film among the "with-it" crowd. Hrithik is cast as a young man who discovers his mission in life in the Army.