Violence can never be memorable, but it can be one of the most enduring moments of a film for a variety of reasons. In director Vikramaditya Motwane’s maiden film, Udaan (2010), there are different depictions of violence; sometimes it’s verbal, and at other times, physical.
Towards the end of Udaan, we encounter a scene featuring an aggressive confrontation between the characters of Ronit Roy (Bhairav Singh) and his elder son Rohan, played by then-newcomer Rajat Barmecha. However, this depiction of anger was starkly different from the ones we had seen until then. The said sequence went a bit further as this time it’s not only the father who unleashed his anger and frustration on his son, he gets slapped back as well. A father is slapped. An abusive father gets hit by his teenage son. Those two sentences, shock-inducing as they are in themselves, are a poor mirror of the impact this bit of the movie left.
There’s no justifying violence in any way, shape or form. But then Bhairav (played by Ronit Roy) had always been an oppressive figure. So maybe somewhere, even if you don’t condone violence, him getting hit by his own son felt like some sort of comeuppance. The two clash, and then as the father chases his son for the act, his offspring ends up out-racing him. This is where the movie comes full-circle in a way, because often in the beginning, we would see Ronit’s character urging and even pushing his son to run with him in mornings. And when Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) would fail, he would mock his own child’s masculinity.
Speaking about it, Udaan’s lead actor Rajat Barmecha told indianexpress.com that he remembered every bit of shooting for the climax. “Because it’s your first film, I remember every scene, every dialogue. This is a funnily interesting scene because there was a lot that happened due to this. It was all over the papers at the time. While shooting for that scene, I accidentally punched Ronit (Roy), and he broke his nose. You can imagine how tough it would be for a new actor, in front of Ronit Roy, who was so established. I was s**t scared.”
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Elaborating upon it, Rajat went on to add, “Every time it was timed perfectly between Ronit and I. I would punch him and he would duck, and you can see in the film. But in that scene, I punched him and he went down, and didn’t come back. I could see blood dripping everywhere. So the shot you see in the film is the point when he broke his nose. All I could hear at the time was ‘it’s broken, it’s broken.’ For a moment, I also thought he (Ronit) would get back up and punch me, and that would be the reflex reaction. But then everyone rushed to him and took him to the hospital. I remember Vikram looking at me and he’s laughing, that sly laughter, and he said: ‘Tune jaan ke maara na? (You hit him deliberately, right?). Because he’s been slapping and pinching you throughout the film.’ And I was still in a state of shock, so I said, ‘Have you lost your mind, why would I do that?’ But he was of course making light of the whole thing. Because I was shaken at that point.”
The actor said Ronit had to fly to Mumbai for a surgery after the incident, but was very sweet about the whole affair as he shrugged off Rajat’s fear-struck apology.
Rajat confessed that the movie-making had a huge influence of him, to the extent that it inspired him to write. For the uninitiated, Rajat’s character Rohan was an aspiring writer in the film. “But if you ask from a character POV, it was a very emotionally charged, very powerful scene, because there was so much angst. And there was a lot of method acting that went into it. I felt a lot of emotions during the 42 days of shoot. I actually started writing because of that film, I had never written anything prior to that. There are so many similarities between Rajat and Rohan today, you cannot differentiate. Today, I have so much of Rohan in me,” Rajat continued.
When asked about the level of fury involved in the climax, Rajat stated, “Right before my character runs, he looks back and smiles, like a kind of smirk, which wasn’t planned. Rohan felt no remorse (about behaving that way with his father). He punched him, and he was happy doing it, almost like ‘this is what you deserve.’ So I think that scene has so much beauty, especially when it comes to the chase bit. I love that part. I still get goosebumps. Of course no one deserves that violence.”
On the other hand, Ronit Roy, who was spectacular as the scary father figure, commented that he viewed Bhairav from another angle.
“There’s a scene which I consider to be Bhairav’s defining scene in the movie. He comes home drunk, and the family goes to Bhairav’s brother’s house, and when they return, Bhairav attacks his son. In the next bit, he is heard saying to his son: ‘Aisa nahi tha ki hum tumko dekhne nahi aaye the. Football khel rahe the tum, khush lag rahe the, aur aise bhi hamare paas tumko kehne ke liye kuch tha nahi (It’s not like I didn’t come to see you. You were playing football, and you looked so happy. I really did not have anything to say to you).’ So there are two kinds of people in this world: those who can love and profess, and those who love and cannot profess,” Ronit told indianexpress.com.
Further explaining Bhairav’s behaviour and how he saw him, the actor said, ‘And the scene you’re talking about, before that there’s a part where Bhairav wakes up his kids and tells them that now he wants to live his life on his own terms, take care of his wants and needs. So, clearly, all these years he was trying to tend to his children, but he was not very good at it. Some people are just not good parents.”
But what happens post the fight is the million dollar question, why did Bhairav not catch up with his son? Or pursue him further, was it because he felt that Rohan could take care of himself, or was he really that unbothered and felt like giving up on that aspect of his life, on Rohan. Some would argue that Rohan defeated him in the end, but what does Bhairav think?
“When he used to take Rohan for running in the morning, Rohan would be exhausted by the end of it. On the other hand, the father and his younger son would continue with the routine, but Rohan couldn’t keep up at the time. But in the end, when the son finally breaks away, who is vindicated? You answer that question and you’ll get my side of the story,” Ronit concluded.
You can watch Udaan on Netflix and YouTube.