Rating: 3.5/5
Director Udai Singh Pawar builds on the modern times of start-ups involving a lot more of reality that comes along

The film has released on Netflix. Probably the perfect platform for a film of such kind. Upstarts is young. It is modern. It is very much placed in today’s age. For the people of today. Most importantly, it is real. It is while you are watching it, you have a contemporary connect with not only what is shown as content, but also the characters and how they do what they do. The film in its fluid language talks about millennials, their hopes, their dreams and ambitions, and all what it takes them to fulfill all of those, including the downfalls.

upstarts, netflix, hindi, film, review, 2019
Director Udai Singh Pawar in the centre on sets (image source: liiststudio.com)

Kapil (Priyanshu Painyuli), Yash (Chandrachoor Rai), and Vinay (Shadab Kamal) are best friends in their 20s wanting to venture into a start-up collectively to make it big as entrepreneurs. They stumble upon an idea to deliver medicines online, for which they develop an app. They start the business successfully, but things aren’t as easy as they first seem.

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The story by Pawar himself and screenplay and dialogues by Pawar and Ketan Bhagat hit the right notes, in the major part of the film. The screenplay is technically loaded with terms related to business- the higher notions of valuation, funding, investments, growth, profits, stakes, among all others that have a say in any business. But what is to be noted, something for which this film deserves a watch is its relatable quality- the humane touch.

The film is essentially a tale of friendship backed by a strong sense of business through the idea of start-ups, which the millennials strive for. Hence it scores on the elements that work in friendships- more specifically, standing by the side of your friends, for the good. The film takes you through the journey of what good and bad (in equal measures) can one face while opting for a start-up. Hence, the film is not all hunky dory and is also not only grave. It has a fair share of both, both equally important. This is a film where no character is wrong, but still they face problems, and you nod with all of them, only because you feel the pain.

upstarts, netflix, review, hindi, film, 2019
Shadab Kamal, Priyanshu Painyuli, Rajeev Siddhartha in scene from the film (image source: koimoi.com)

The structure is panned in a way that one’s self ego, inner turmoil, mental suffocation, inner happiness is as important as the content of the film. All this has been woven intricately into the screenplay, making it interesting. The film, thanks to the amazing actors (phenomenally picked by casting directors), seems so much real. The film has a quality to make you feel you are watching something happen to your own friend and not the characters on screen.

Not that there are no drawbacks. The film falters in its pace midway when you feel dragged or when the actions seem repetitive. The makers make earnest attempt to bounce back, and they do succeed to some level by giving you the remaining path of the trajectory. Also, the film is very much a class oriented affair. Not all will like this. Of course you don’t need to have knowledge about how start-ups function. But people completely alien to this concept might feel off.


Priyanshu Painyuli rises above all others in this one. For one, because of how his role has been written. And also for how he has played it with such conviction. He is a fine actor, which he’s proved over time. But in this one, he makes the role seem as if it was written only for him. He puts forth the character before anything else, giving you more of mental space than what is shown from the outer frame.

Chandrachoor Rai and Shadab Kamal, both have contributed extremely well in their respective roles. At a point when they both have almost equal screen spacing, they have left you with something distinct to cherish about them. You like the genuineness of both of them, and how they react in certain situations. Great job.

Watch the trailer here:

Rajeev Siddhartha has a definitively strong role and he performs brilliantly. You are always at a distance from him, which means that he has actually done an incredible job, because the role asked him to do that. Sheetal Thakur in a meaty supporting role leaves her mark. In her dejection, in her ideologies, in her determination, she is an epitome of hope. It’s a delight to watch her.


The score by Sanyanth Naroth and Pranaay is soulfully placed within the scenes, making the film’s appeal very strong. You instantly have a connect with the overall scenario because of the score, that although is minimal but impactful.

Camera by Arvind Kannabiran is put to constructive use. It is simple. You don’t need high octane dramatic definitions here. Crisp. Clean. Neat. What is strikingly marvelous is the production design by Madhusudan N. The sets are so realistically designed- homes, offices, outdoors- that you are transported to the place in no time. Visually, the film is immensely real.

Editing by Hemanti Sarkar is by the lines and rules. It moves in a straight line. And hits you to the maximum level. There are hardly any dull points in the film, despite the film not being a twisty thriller or anything of that sort. Hats off to Sarkar for bringing in a sense of likability to the overall narrative.

The film gives you the right message in the right manner. It is a film that requires all youngsters to surrender to. Contemporary story. Check. Gripping screenplay. Check. Relatable characters. Check. Entertaining. Check. Technically sound. Check. Easy to access. Check. Do you need anything else? Watch it now.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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