'Wake Up Sid'

This atypically low-key Bollywood romantic comedy is effortlessly appealing.

Such is the infectious peppiness of “Wake Up Sid” that, despite a storyline that would require a few more subplots to qualify as featherweight, this atypically low-key Bollywood romantic comedy somehow manages to remain pleasantly diverting throughout its 138-minute running time. It helps that first-time helmer Ayan Mukerji has a light touch, and that well-cast leads Konkona Sen Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor are so effortlessly appealing, even when Kapoor’s character is borderline obnoxious. While instantly forgettable, this tasty soufflé should satisfy simpatico auds during theatrical and homevid servings.

Sidharth (Kapoor), the insufferably spoiled son of a wealthy Mumbai family, gets a chance to redeem himself — whether he wants to or not — when he’s kicked out of the house after flunking out of college. On his own, bereft of credit cards and cocksure attitude, he relies on the hospitality of a new friend, Aisha (Sharma), an appreciably more mature young beauty who’s recently arrived from Calcutta.

Ambitious and goal-oriented, Aisha lands a job at the trendy Mumbai Beat magazine, despite her relative lack of professional experience. And while she’s willing to let Sid move into her apartment as a temporary roommate, she makes it clear right from the start that she has little time for romance and no inclination to fall for a immature slacker.

As the attractive opposites develop a close friendship that, of course, gradually evolves into something even closer, “Wake Up Sid” takes few detours from its familiar path. Mukerji makes a token effort to complicate matters by introducing other possibilities for his leads — a lovely family friend for Sid, a charming magazine editor for Aisha — but neither option is more than a fleeting distraction.

Indeed, the pic’s only real surprise is its lack of Bollywood-style flamboyance: No one sings or dances — expect, briefly, during a karaoke interlude — and all songs on the soundtrack are used to underscore montage sequences. Only during the closing credits does Mukerji allow auds the guilty pleasure of a full-blown production number.

Sharma glides through the proceedings with graceful poise and charm, while Kapoor makes a credible transition from arrested adolescence to self-directed adulthood.

It should be noted that Sid, too, gets an entry-level job at Mumbai Beat, where he rises to the rank of staff photographer, and Aisha establishes herself as a featured columnist, within a scant two-month period. In a fairy tale like “Wake Up Sid,” there’s never any shortage of happy endings.

Tech values are suitably glossy.

Wake Up Sid

India

Production

A UTV Motion Pictures release of a Dharma Prods. production. Produced by Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar. Directed by Ayan Mukerji. Screenplay, Mukerji, Niranjan Iyengar.

Crew

Camera (color), Anil Mehta; editor, Shan Mohammed; music, Shankar Ehsaan Loy; lyrics, Javed Akhtar; production designer, Amrita Mahal Nakai; costume designers, Manish Malhotra, Priyanjali Lahiri; sound, Baylon Fonseca; associate producer, Apoorva Mehta; casting, Nandini Shrikent. Reviewed at AMC First Colony 24, Sugar Land, Texas, Oct. 5, 2009. Running time: 138 MIN.

With

Ranbir Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak, Namit Das, Shikha Talsania. (Hindi, English dialogue)

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