‘All India Rank’ Movie Review | Uninteresting narrative

February 22, 2024
A film about youth and competition could have been narrated in a more interesting and dramatic manner, which is not the case Varun Grover's 'All India Rank'

‘All India Rank’ aka ‘AIR’ as used in the academic parlance, has released at a time when the immediate reference that comes to my mind, is a comparison with Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s ’12th Fail’ (released on 27 October 2023) but that too only for the genre of the narrative – lower middle class setting and competitive exams! Otherwise, both the films are poles apart in terms of the story telling, acting and everything else.

‘All India Rank’ tries to address issues close to the Indian middle-class milieu, but it gets lost through its multiple storylines that try to prove the point. Ultimately the audience remain clueless deriving the purpose after spending 94 minutes seeing things that neither entertain nor communicate. The last sentence of the film (about control in life) is what the director needs to think about very seriously.

‘All India Rank’ is about Vivek Singh (Bodhisattva Sharma), a 17-year-old boy who is coming to terms with growing up is still unaware of the challenges his lower-middle-class parents face. His father R K Singh (Shashi Bhushan), believing that an IIT degree is crucial for success, sends Vivek to Kota, famous for its coaching centers, hoping to fulfill his own aspirations through his son. Over the two years in Kota, Vivek experiences the ups and downs of adolescence and his parents back home.

‘All India Rank’ doesn’t deep dive in exploring its theme. It rushes through many storylines, while touching familiar topics like hostel/college life and young love but it lacks freshness. The scenes seem disjointed. With such a title, one would expect to see stiff competition amongst the students and the traits that help attain the objective of scoring a ‘rank’. Varun Grover picks up the term IIT and makes it look like a beast. On the hind side, there is a professor Kalpana Bundela (Sheeba Chaddha) who is projected as one of the best in the ‘business’ looks relaxed and unserious.

The narrative lacks in portraying the pressure that students face and strategies that students implement to overcome and come out victorious.

Varun Grover has picked up subject that has been a point of discussion ever since. He depicts it in a negative light by including a suicide without much reason. The suicide presented in ‘3 Idiots’ was used as a tool to bring forth a point of the education system. But can we really blame the system. When we ourselves address it as ‘competetive exams’ and that too when you are competing with not a handful of aspirants but the number runs into thousands and lakhs the pressure is inevitable.

With such a dull story, there is hardly anything that can be discussed about its actors performances. Actors and their performances are as good as what the directors extracts out of them. Here too, we can conclude that the actors performed to the satisfaction of the director.

Over, a film about youth and competition could have been narrated in a more interesting and dramatic manner, which is not the case with ‘Masaan’ writer Varun Grovers directorial debut feature.

‘All India Rank’ was the closing film of IFFR’s 52nd edition.

Movie: All India Rank
Directed by: Varun Grover
Cast: Bodhisattva Sharma, Samta Sudiksha, Shashi Bhushan, Geeta Agrawal Sharma, Sheeba Chaddha, Ayush Pandey, Saadat Khan
Running time: 94 mins

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