After a hiatus of nearly two and a half years I watched a Hindi movie. I made a feeble attempt at watching Dus but was unable to endure it for more than an hour. Mani Ratnam is one of those rare Indian directors who treats movies as an art form not just eye candy. As a youth Roja and Bombay were my favorite movies. Yuva is supposed to be his look at the today’s Indian youth. It also serves up dollops of patriotism and idealism which are purely fictional. Although the story is inspirational I felt that Mani Ratnam seems to have lost his touch. Or maybe I am incapable of sitting thru long three hours movies anymore. The other person who seems to have lost his touch is A. R. Rehman. None of the songs is memorable. I tried listening to the songs again hoping they might grow on me but no such luck. They are just unhummable. More than half the movie is flash backs trying to build the three main characters Ajay Devgan’s Michael Mukherjee the idealistic student leader who wants to reform Indian politics, Vivek Oberoi’s Arjun a college kid who chases women and wants to pursue a MBA at Cornell, and Abhishek Bachan’s Lallan, the muscle of the local politician. While Ajay Devgan’s Michael Mukherjee was entirely fictional I could easily identify with Vivek Oberoi’s Arjun. Most of my friends have been through this phase. The lure of the west is still irresistible in spite of the much higher standard of living now afforded to certain professionals in India. However the character that left the largest impression was Lallan. The absolute lack of morals and the will to power was almost Nietzschean. I have always believed that as an actor Abhishek Bachan was a better actor than his father. And in this movie he demonstrates it.