Movie Review - Uda Aida

A point well made

A point well made

A still from Uda Aida

Gurnaaz Kaur

Living in a village of Punjab, a couple believes that the ever-growing importance of knowing English is the way to see their son successful in today’s world. Unhappy about sending him to a local school where the standards of the language are quite low, the two decide to send him to a posh convent school in the city. 

How this simpleton family struggles to pay the fee that goes into lakhs; how once the admission is done, their struggle gets extended to coping with the rich, English-speaking families of other children. And the child (played by Ansh Tejpal), who is trying to live his parents’ dream of being well-spoken and well-read, has his own share of hardships—mingling with the classmates, understanding an almost-new language and of course matching the standards of his wealthy friends.

While fighting their own battles, the family also experiences discord as the child distances himself from his parents. Tarsem Jassar and Neeru Bajwa have done a fair job of playing parents but in some scenes Neeru seems quite polished for a villager.

Tarsem Jassar, on the other hand, is true to his character and displays the sincerity and innocence of a farmer, who loves his family too much and is ready to make every sacrifice to see it happy. Gurpreet Ghuggi also gives a good performance as an Army guy, who knows some English and pretends to be the ‘I know it all’ man in a village where no one understands the language.

BN Sharma as Tarsem’s father and Gurpreet Ghuggi’s brother does not have a very significant role and he sometimes slips into his usual comic mode even in scenes where he needs to be serious or display other emotions. But when it is about comedy, both Gurpreet Ghuggi and BN Sharma are bang on. Karamjit Anmol too has a noticeable role with a few un-required dialogues and drama.

Unlike many of the recent Punjabi films, this one has a subject and essentially stays with it. There are moments when some scenes feel exaggerated, especially the way parents of other kids try to show class by showing disgust when their kids speak in Punjabi.

This part could have been given a subtle treatment. While the opening song of the film is well-picturised and gives a good start to the story, the Halloween song Disco is a bit over the top. A new face in the industry, Poppy Jabal, who plays a counsellor at the convent school, has done a decent job, barring some instances where she only adds a glamour quotient. 

The performances of school kids are mostly honest and realistic with some dramatisation that we don’t mind. They lend substance to the story by primarily being themselves—kids their age; the director definitely knows how to bring out the best of these children on screen. He has in fact managed to extract a good performance from the whole crew.

Although the climax is stretched and looks melodramatic, Uda Aida surely succeeds in questioning if English should be put on a pedestal at the cost of disrespecting our mother tongue. It asks us if it’s right to look down upon our own culture while restyling our lives under the influence of Westernisation. So, if you are thinking whether this satirical take of the generation’s obsession for English is worth viewing, the answer is a sure yes.


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