All India Rank review: Varun Grover’s slice of life story is funny, relatable and filled with 90s pop culture references!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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All India Rank review

Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival: In our All India Rank review, we talk about the film’s light hearted attempt at conveying so many things that we still struggle with as a society!

All India Rank review: Varun Grover’s debut film is set in the 1990s where a progressive India was full of opportunities. One of the biggest things out of that, which still is a massive deal in today’s time, is cracking the IIT entrance exam. So Vivek is told to jump on the IIT bandwagon and make his parents proud. He has never seen the world outside his hometown though and while this was an important decision they take as a family, both Vivek and his parents get major separation anxiety when he leaves for Kota. He misses home terribly and his mother feels her only son will never come back. But in the midst of navigating life apart from each other, Vivek and his parents learn things about themselves and also tackle difficult situations that arise. 

Living in a hostel alone turns out to be an eye opening experience for him. Pictures of models and actresses on the wall, adult magazines and discovering self pleasure, he experiences it all. The movie also beautifully uses math equations to bring out a character’s feelings. Whenever someone comes to Kota to study for IIT, they come with passion in their heart to conquer the world. But when they see the same junoon in everyone’s eyes, they realize they’re not the only ones and recognize their actual limit and potential. This is explained through a math equation in a wholesome scene between Vivek and his friends. I never knew that through the simplicity of writing and dialogues, even someone like me would understand something as complicated as physics. But then the worst of it all happens…Vivek has a crush! And all of us know there isn't a greater distraction than a teenage crush. So basically he is doing everything but studying and that just increases the pressure from home. For his parents, he is their road to success and they fulfill their own unfulfilled dreams which is the story of so many people in our country. Vivek just has to give it his best shot whether he likes it or not!

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The movie is filled with pop culture references. From Princess Diana to Qayamat se Qayamat Tak, every iconic figure, song and movie makes it to this film which will serve some major nostalgia to the 90s kids. And also like the director of the movie said, 90s references, they just sustained. We still love them and they remain classics forever. The film has some really cool animation throughout which sets it apart from similar stories in this genre. Right from the beginning credits, the film draws you in with its sketches. The animation is used to explain how things were done back then. How a telephone worked to how they paid the electricity bill, it would all be so fascinating to a Gen Z watching this. 

Sheeba Chaddha plays the famous private tutor who is coaching young minds in the film. Even her portrayal of a teacher will remind you of your own. Bodhisattva Sharma who plays Vivek does justice to this coming of age story. His parents, played by Shashi Bhushan and Geeta Agrawal Sharma make you feel every emotion that they’re feeling with the gravitas they play their roles with. There are so many issues that they face as well and they’re left to figure it all out while keeping it from their son. There's fear, worry, uncertainty and they bring it out with such conviction on-screen. 

Varun Grover just takes a slice of life story which of course would hit close to home to so many people and adds so much warmth and humor to it. This film feels like an ode to everyone who is living away from home and trying to make it big in life. It also talks about some very serious issues that unfortunately are not uncommon in the competitive world of IIT and engineering. It’s all packaged into one soup for the soul dramedy about a family like any of ours. 

All India Rank had its Indian premiere at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival this year!

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