Art & Entertainment

‘All India Rank’ On Netflix Movie Review: Varun Grover Gives You A Warm Nostalgic Hug

Outlook Rating:
3.5 / 5

After a long wait, Varun Grover’s debut directorial, ‘All India Rank’, is finally available on OTT. Is the film worth the wait? Or can you simply skip it? Read the full movie review to find out.

A Still From ‘All India Rank’
A Still From ‘All India Rank’ Photo: Instagram

Every Indian student would be aware of what an All India Rank or AIR is. For the unversed, All India Rank is the rank that a student gets after giving competitive exams for getting admission into IITs or NITs. The better the rank, the better your chances of getting into one of these premiere colleges in the country. While in the past two decades, numerous other professions and streams of education have mushroomed, but in the 1990s, this used to be one of the only things that students and parents used to talk about. While students were compelled to study hard in order to get a great All India Rank, parents would put in their life savings in order to get their ward the best coaching available so that they could crack the exams and come out with flying colours. ‘All India Rank’ takes you back to that time period. The had its world premiere on February 5, 2023 at the 52nd International Film Festival Rotterdam, as the closing film. However, it took over a year for it to be released in theatres and then subsequently after another month or so, now it’s finally streaming globally. Here’s all you need to know about the film.

‘All India Rank’: Story

Set in the late 1990s, ‘All India Rank’ revolves around a 17-year-old Vivek (Bodhisattva Sharma). He is being sent away from home to a coaching centre in a different city so as to be able to prepare for the highly competitive IIT entrance examination. The IITs are considered equally good or even better than MIT in the US. Getting in an IIT assures a great standard of life for the candidate in his future, provided he manages to do work hard, do well in his exams and passes out with flying colours. However, getting into the IITs is still one of the most tough exams in the country. All hopes of Vivek’s parents are pinned on him studying hard at the coaching centre and finally being able to crack the IIT entrance exam. However, Vivek has other plans. The story revolves around this of predicament in a student’s life.

‘All India Rank’: Performances

Bodhisattva Sharma gives a very subtle yet relatable character. The way he expresses his emotions with a sense of fear and hesitation in front of his father while being very open in front of his mother is quite a familiar emotion. Also, the way he expresses his frustration at studies is quite reminiscent of a similar scene of Ranbir Kapoor from ‘Tamasha’. The way Bodhisattva Sharma has held back the reigns of the character and stopped him from exploding is commendable.

Samta Sudiksha has a very small character, but she manages to win you over in just that. Not just is she ideal for the character lookwise, but also in the sense of the body language. Her character was there just as that sweet dish which everyone wants to have more of but can’t have. Varun Grover needs to be commended for being able to not give in to that temptation and keep this character just for a little while.

Shashi Bhushan and Geeta Agrawal Sharma as the parents are so apt that you can actually see your dad and mom in them. Not just in their mannerisms but even in the way they treat their son’s (Bodhisattva Sharma) character. Another thing that the duo manages to do really well is hide their real emotions always while talking to the son. It gives you, as a viewer, a reality check about how your parents always said harsh things to you to better your life, but at the back of their minds, they themselves were going through some of the toughest or scariest times of their lives. Whether it was financially or professionally or something else, parents used to always hold a brave and strong front when talking to you as a kid, and Shashi Bhushan and Geeta Agrawal Sharma have been able to brings to emotions so beautifully to life onscreen.

Sheeba Chaddha is known for giving out strong performances, but sadly, in this one she was wasted almost entirely. She didn’t have too much of screentime. If felt as if she did the character just as a favour to the makers of the movie as the character didn’t have too much depth to it.

‘All India Rank’: Cast & Crew

Director: Varun Grover

Cast: Bodhisattva Sharma, Samta Sudiksha, Shashi Bhushan, Geeta Agrawal Sharma, Sheeba Chaddha, Kailash Gowthaman, Ayush Pandey, Vidit Singh, Ananyabrata Chakravorty

Available On: Netflix

Duration: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

‘All India Rank’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘All India Rank’ gives you a nostalgic rush to the 1990s. It will leave you reminiscing the past and will give you a sense of what you’ve achieved till now and where you came from. The film very beautifully makes you feel good about your own life and makes you relive some of your childhood memories. Varun Grover’s direction makes this story not feel like a bad childhood memory but more of a warm happy hug. The performances are good, no doubt. Even though the story is quite predictable, you’re still not complaining. It’s a Breezy One Time Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.