• the thought fox

Udaan - Satyanshu & Devanshu Singh

This series is giving me a chance to revisit some beautiful pieces of poetry that may not fit neatly into conventional definitions - poetry that slides into the cracks of the “academy”. Of course, many poems and lyrical fragments that form an integral part of hindi and regional cinema in India go unnoticed, jostling in the throng of “published poetry”. But poetry is everywhere - in newspaper headlines, shopping lists, song lyrics, dialogue, even unread letters.

The verse I share with you today is uttered by the young protagonist in the 2010 film Udaan when he is nudged to share his writing by his intoxicated friend. In an indulgent mood, and given that they are a group of friends who are playing truant from school, Rohan, the aspiring poet obliges them with a winning smile. The poem he recites from memory is astounding. A seamless blend of explication and mystery, the poem talks about an elusive hunger. This insistent appetite is a shadow of many things. It reminds me of Pash’s poem about dreams, but also of age and time, of revolutions, and struggles, and the dogged lilt of experience.

There is a weariness that trails the words, viscous as languor, persistent as passion. The poem is beautiful because of the way the character launches into it and enjoys the slow ripening of meaning in the scene itself. It becomes especially significant because of the arc of the character and his story of struggle with an abusive father who will not let him pursue his dream of being a writer.

A simple, yet poignant coming-of-age narrative, I would highly recommend Udaan to people who haven’t caught it yet.

A clip of the scene itself can be found here.

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