All India Rank | Movie Review

Director: Varun Grover
Cast: Bodhisattva Sharma, Samta Sudiksha, Sheeba Chaddha, Geeta Agrawal Sharma
Rating: ⭐⭐(2/5)

Varun Grover’s directorial debut, “All India Rank,” takes audiences back to the 1990s, amidst the backdrop of burgeoning liberalization and cultural trivia. With witty references and humorous anecdotes, Grover weaves a narrative centered around the IIT dream, offering a glimpse into the lives of hopefuls preparing for entrance exams in Kota.

The protagonist, Vivek, portrayed convincingly by Bodhisattva Sharma, navigates the pressures of academic success amidst personal uncertainties. Supported by a talented cast, including Ayush Pandey and Neeraj Singh as Vivek’s hostel mates, and Samta Sudiksha as the focused Sarika, the film captures the essence of adolescent camaraderie and existential contemplation.

While Grover’s personal insights and historical research add depth to the storyline, “All India Rank” suffers from a sense of familiarity, echoing themes explored in previous cinematic endeavors. Despite its nostalgic portrayal of 1990s India, the film’s pacing feels sluggish at times, reflecting the leisurely atmosphere of Kota during that era.

Visually, Grover shows promise but falls short in distinguishing his style, resorting to clichéd mixed-media sections and unnecessary poetic flourishes. Furthermore, the censorship-induced alterations dilute the film’s authenticity, particularly in toning down the characters’ expressions of frustration and rebellion.

In conclusion, “All India Rank” is a delicate exploration of youth, ambition, and societal pressures, albeit within a landscape that feels all too familiar. While it may not stand out amidst similar-themed content, Grover’s directorial debut offers moments of humor, observation, and introspection that resonate with audiences, particularly those familiar with the pursuit of academic excellence in India.

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