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Is All India Rank Based On a True Story?

Directed by Grover himself, the film immerses viewers in the challenging world of Vivek, a young boy portrayed by Bodhisattva Sharma, as he navigates the rigorous preparation for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) entrance exam.

Grover had been brewing the storyline for “All India Rank” in his mind for a decade, with its roots tracing back to his days at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), where he pursued civil engineering. Inspired by his own experiences during the years of rigorous IIT coaching around 1998, the movie vividly captures this period.

Is All India Rank Based On a True Story?

Varun Grover, following the immense success of Vikrant Massey’s ’12th Fail’, releases his directorial debut feature film ‘All India Rank’. The film centres around the journey of Vivek, a 17-year-old boy who attends a coaching centre far from home to prepare for the highly competitive IIT entrance examination. Grover, speaking to IANS earlier, described the film as a semi-autobiography that captures the myriad emotions of adolescence, including joy, confusion, love, doubt, hope, and cynicism. He emphasized the constant struggle between ambition and mediocrity at the age of 17. Grover further explained that the film serves as both a semi-autobiographical slice-of-life dramedy and a time capsule of life in 1990s India, a period marked by the influx of American-style capitalism.

This era witnessed the emergence of a new consumerist middle-class that prioritized STEM over liberal arts due to market pressures. Vivek, much like Grover himself, grapples with these societal shifts, where personal fulfilment takes a backseat to the perceived societal value of one’s contributions. Premiering at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, ‘All India Rank’ is both written and directed by Grover, with its trailer unveiled by Vicky Kaushal today.

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Stellar Cast

Directed by Varun Grover, “All India Rank” features a cast including Bodhisattva Sharma, Samta Sudiksha, Sheeba Chaddha, and Geeta Agrawal Sharma. With a runtime of 101 minutes, the film offers a glimpse into the journey of a young boy preparing for the challenging IIT entrance exams amidst societal and personal pressures.

Trailer of “All India Rank”

As Vicky Kaushal presents the trailer of “All India Rank,” he reminisces about the journey he and director Varun Grover embarked on together nearly simultaneously with their film “Masaan.” Reflecting on a line from the film that has become iconic, Kaushal expresses pride in presenting Grover’s directorial debut. He extends his best wishes to Grover and the entire team of “All India Rank,” celebrating their talent and dedication.

All India Rank Plot

In Varun Grover’s film, set in 1997, the story revolves around Vivek and his middle-class parents, highlighting their resilience in the face of adversity as they strive to fulfil their dreams. Vivek, a hesitant and solitary teenager from Lucknow, is sent to Kota by his parents to prepare for the challenging IIT entrance exams. While his father, RK Singh, harbours grand aspirations for his son’s future, Vivek remains uncertain about his desires. Despite his diligence and obedience, he feels conflicted about his path. The narrative shifts between Lucknow and Kota, contrasting the lifestyles of the two cities undergoing rapid societal changes amidst India’s 50th Independence Day celebrations and the onset of liberalization.

The parents represent the traditional values of Lucknow, where they sacrifice and adapt to afford Vivek’s expensive coaching in Kota. Meanwhile, Kota becomes a transformative space for Vivek, initially despised but gradually embraced as he forms connections with fellow students Rinku, Chandan, and Sarika. The film employs animation extensively in the first half, immersing viewers in 90s nostalgia with references to Sachin, Citra cold drink, Shah Rukh Khan films, and Indian Ocean music.

While the first half captivates with its whimsical charm, the second half meanders, lacking clear resolutions. The film’s predominantly new cast, led by Bodhisattva Sharma as Vivek, struggles to shoulder the weight of the narrative. Sharma’s chemistry with Samta Sudiksha’s Sarika feels rushed and predictable, while his relationships with Chandan and Rinku remain underexplored. Ultimately, “All India Rank” falls short of delivering a compelling conclusion, rendering it a mediocre tale despite its promising premise.

Where to Watch

Varun Grover’s “All India Rank” is set to stream on Netflix, offering viewers a glimpse into the challenging world of a young boy preparing for the IIT entrance exams. Directed by Grover, the film promises to captivate audiences with its compelling narrative and talented cast.

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