Three young college graduates, all close friends, aspire to realize their ultimate dream in Bengaluru, India’s IT capital. Their dream mirrors that of thousands of other IT graduates in the Indian subcontinent—to launch their own startup and make it big.
So Kapil (Priyanshu Painyuli), Yash (Chandrachoor Rai) and Vinay (Shadab Kamal) compete hard against other techies like themselves to sell their ideas and get funds to start their company. Among the three, Kapil seems the most motivated, coming up with ideas for apps that are sometime as absurd as putting wi-fi enabled transmitters on underwear so that they’re not lost. Even with their goals set, the boys from middle-class families also work as employees in tech companies for a living.
Then, one day, while volunteering in rural Karnataka, Kapil sees a person die before him for lack of a life-saving injection that is otherwise easily available in cities. That gives him an idea for a startup. With both Yash and Vinay’s support on this one, the trio start a company called CarryKaro, which is supposed to work like an aggregator for medicinal supplies in rural areas, using commuters to the areas as carriers. In short, CarryKaro is to be an “Uber for medicines.”
They start well but soon run out of cash. Enter a rich heir, Veer Diwan (Rajeev Siddhartha), with a major investment. But the trouble is only just starting. As the company gets bigger, so do differences between the friends, resulting in many arguments and separations. How these young techies deal with their sudden success and the sheer brutality of corporate world is what the movie “Upstarts” is all about.
Released in October 2019, Upstarts is a low-budget Hindi-language movie that takes the audience behind-the-scenes of the tech world. With a cast of new comers and lesser-known faces, the film portrays the hardships behind technological advances we see and also celebrates the number of startups that fail.
Directed by Udai Singh Pawar, the independent film is not commercialized to suit Bollywood audiences though. Upstarts rather takes a more realistic approach in dealing with the subject and maintains its integrity as a serious, non-nonsense film throughout.
As much as it's a work of fiction, Upstarts is based on a storyline that could well be a true story out of Bengaluru, or any other up-and-coming city in the world. What is also interesting is that the writers include industry jargons and financial explanations that give the audience a bit of education along with entertainment.
Even with its less-experienced cast and no ‘star power’ to drive it, the film does not feel amateurish at any point. The actors seem to follow the script by the book and overall filmmaking appears perfect for a Netflix release.
Had the film not been a grueling 1hr 52mins long, the viewing would have been that much better. We appreciate that the film does not get too fictional or melodramatic or masala-laced but without Bollywood’s filmy elements, the feature length feels a little too long.
Who should watch it?
Even if it is not that popular or commercially successful, Upstarts can be an inspiring film for young entrepreneurs or IT students. For the rest, the story of struggles, successes and failures is also definitely worth a watch.
Rating: 3 stars
Cast: Priyanshu Painyuli, Chandrachoor Rai, Shadab Kamal