Netflix’s ‘Upstarts’ begins with Kapil (Priyanshu Painyuli) and Yash (Chanrachoor Rai), helping their friend Vinay (Shadab Kamal) eloping with his girlfriend. But the plan eventually fails, and Kapil brainstorms an idea of elopement service providing startup.
So, from here, we understood that Netflix’s ‘Upstarts’ is a film based on start-ups. As the story progresses, we came to realize that among the three friends, Kapil and Yash are more inclined towards doing a start-up, but ultimately Vinay too joined them.
When an old man dies in Kapil’s arms due to a lack of medicines in a village hospital, an idea emerges from his brain. An app like ‘Uber’ which will be the mediator to carry medicines to the village people. The three friends started working on the app and named it ‘CarryKaro.’
As the app goes live, Kapil begins to communicate with the village people, making them understand how the app works and how it will help to save their lives.
But like any start-up, they needed funding too. Without funding, even a small company can’t move forward. Here, their struggle continues to grow because no investor is convinced of their idea in terms of doing business. They continued to attend several meetings, but all went in vain.
So, due to a lack of money, they had to shut down their app. But finally, luck showed down the path to them, and they got their first investor.
Very soon, as their company started to grow, their friendship is getting weak. Kapil, being the CEO, takes all the major decisions with the investor, and some of his choices weren’t encouraged by Yash and Vinay. So, creative differences develop and they turned down from their positions, and all three went down the separate ways to achieve their career.
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Director Udai Pawar tried to show the world of startup and however cool does it sound, but it’s all superficial. He has depicted numerous nitty-gritty details about the relationship an investor and a founder of a startup share, how they fake about the company’s valuation in the market when the reality is something else. Also, highlights of their working styles, how ambition blurs your vision and etc.
The story is more about friendship, their mental state, and the morality of the characters. There comes a shift in the mood and narrative in the second half of the film.
Especially the two characters, Kapil, who is continuously feeling threatened by the changing dynamics and equations of his company with his investors.
Yash, on the other hand, is an incredible tech guy but doomed in alcohol and insecurity. He lives in fear, sadness, and drives himself on the edge of suicide.
The story of Yash did connect because in the tech world, if you are not keeping yourself updated there is no place for you. In a scene, Yash is giving an interview for a tech job because his skills are outdated, he got rejected.
Reasons for which you can skip
There are a few things that I, as a viewer think, could have been better and could have uplifted the film to a new level.
If not mistaken, the subplot is about Jaya (Sheetal Thakur), Kapil’s friend, who is also dreaming of a start-up but isn’t getting a breakthrough. Every time she presents her idea in front of the investors, they ask her weird questions like how will you manage after marriage or baby, and it keeps goes on.
Questions that are biased and stopping her from moving forward with her idea. In the film, it is the same time when both Jaya and Kapil are facing challenges with establishing their ideas, while Kapil advanced, and Jaya still facing the same questions all over again.
The director didn’t give much time to the character Jaya. If seen otherwise, instead of showing the one -dimensional investor-CEO relationship. The narrative could have given more attention on developing the subplot in the second half of the film.
The story gets a little too dull and predictable after the second half. While watching Netflix’s ‘Upstarts,’ it reminded me of TVF’s Pitchers, which also shares a similar story. Four individuals with an IT background planning for a startup and ditch their 9-5 job. TVF’s Pitchers was viral.
Not comparing Pitchers with Netflix’s Upstarts, just an observation that Pitchers was a hit because a specific age group of people could connect themselves with the characters. Also, there is no melodrama in the series, and the dialogues are highly relatable.
Also, the director entirely left the character Vinay unexplored. The story is about three friends, but then again from the second half, Vinay gets hardly noticed.
As a viewer, I would say, Netflix’s ‘Upstarts’ is a one-time watch film. There are a lot of loose ends where the narrative could have been better and add freshness to the content of the movie.
But having said that, it would be an injustice if I don’t mention that all the actors did a marvelous job of playing their individual characters.