Starring: Jackky Bhagnani, Neha Sharma, Farooq Sheikh
Directed by Syed Ahmad Afzal
The credit for the two-star rating for Youngistaan goes entirely to Farooq Sheikh. In his last role, as the secretary and mentor who helps chart out the political career of the young prime minister Abhimanyu Kaul (Bhagnani), Sheikh may not have too much to do, but he brings his usual elegance and poise to the big screen and is immensely watchable, even though the film may not entirely be so.
Ostensibly a remake of the 2010 Telugu film Leader, starring Rana Daggubati, the film plays out more like a nod to Rajiv and Rahul Gandhi. Abhimanyu Kaul is the son of the PM leading an ordinary life in Japan and is in a live-in relationship with girlfriend Anwita (Neha). He is sucked into the political whirlpool after the death of his father. From a reluctant taking over of the ruling party, juggling between the public and the private, meeting the demands of his girl and countering the resistance within the party to eventually winning the political battle and emerging as the true leader, Youngistaan maps this journey rather predictably and insipidly. There are the real references in reel—the stress on youth power or the young PM candidate eating with village women, but these details remain quite on surface. The element of romance detracts rather than melds in with the politics. The film lacks the punch and power essential for it to be consistently engaging. The drama in the real election and its coverage in the media make for a far more exciting viewing.