Upstarts set the gold standard for movies about startup entrepreneurs. Gaining remarkable access into the lives of the protagonists, Upstarts feels more like a real-life story than a standard Netflix movie as it features the characters negotiating a remarkable (and sometimes extremely funny) series of obstacles as they attempt to make their startup, Carry Karo, a success. Of course, things go horribly wrong for the business, but Ketan Bhagat’s brilliant writing and Udai Singh Pawar’s relaistic direction – via the medium of insightful scenes – makes Upstarts interesting viewing. A tad lengthy, things gets a little tiresome towards the end of its 152 minutes running time, but overall, there’s enough here to keep the most dedicated real life film enthusiast entertained. Director Udai Singh Pawar brought experience and remarkable dedication to the film. The filmmakers do not set out to prove a thesis. There is no voice-over narration to the film; the audience is left to draw its own conclusions (at times). Still, in Upstarts, the filmmakers were gifted with protagonists as subtle and complex as any feature film could hope for. Priyanshu Painyuli is remarkable and he delivers a top class performance. He is well supported by Shadab Kamal and Chandrachoor Rai. The film’s young “stars” begin as devoted friends, buddies from college, given to tearful declarations of their deep love for one another. Slowly, inevitably, move away from each other only to meet again. The three are perfectly “cast”: Priyanshu Painyuli, handsome, charismatic, and later, surprisingly wavering, Shadab Kamal, quieter, more introspective, and later, just as surprisingly tough and Chandrachoor Rai, techie, upright, alcoholic, broke and later emotionally confident. The three come unwillingly into conflict, and the conclusion of the film offers a twist that is at once completely unforeseen, and as organic to the rest of the film’s story as the best screenwriter could have devised. Does Upstarts sound a puritanical outcry against the greed and selfishness of modern venture capitalism? If anything, the film treats this cycle of boom and bust as a fact of contemporary life. It’s not every day, or every decade, that you get to see a film as eye opening in its timeliness as Upstarts. Upstarts is a revelation not merely because a couple of smart filmmakers got lucky, but because the film, which for sheer dramatic wallop outpowers virtually every fiction feature I’ve seen this year, embodies the story of our time, the way that the collusion of money and technology has taken over our dreams. Upstarts will bring out the entrepreneur in you. Must Watch!
Star Rating: 4 Stars
@Dr. Nitya Prakash