Netflix film Upstarts captures an enjoyable comedy premise, but it enjoys it a little too much with a suffocating running time that does not justify the narrative.
In a world where getting a degree and settling for a corporate job is becoming traditional rather than modern, Netflix Indian film Upstarts presents us three friends that want to take on the world a different way — online. The opening of the comedy-drama film presents drive and ambition; this need to create an application that makes billions; that one app that everyone thinks about every morning when they turn on their smartphone.
Upstarts is smooshy in direction by Udai Singh Pawar — each achievement is met by that soppy uplifting music to signal that something wonderful has happened. But the story is interesting to a certain extent; there’s a sense that the three friends want to make an application to “change the world” rather than generate revenue. The three friends are dreamers, not businessmen, with their innovating ways setting them apart from the driven salesman. When one of the developers realizes there is a niche in the market — medicine — they believe they are on to something.
But there are two elements to Upstarts — the ambition, drive to change the world with a single application, and the pitfalls in attempting to create something so extensive with friends. The Netflix film dabbles into one of the characters “turning to the dark side”, teased by an investor, and changing his mindset from the real purpose of the application, which is to help people. Upstarts pits a war between a group of friends, and the real test is to see if their bond is strong enough to outlast the pressures of business.
At 1 hour and fifty-two minutes, Upstarts is too long. It drags the story along even when the conclusion is abundantly apparent. It becomes obsessed with this cycle of friendship and betrayal despite the need for the story to progress at a more exciting pace. Upstarts would have benefitted from trying to not beg too much time out of a straightforward narrative that required a fun 90 minutes.
But all in all, Netflix Indian film Upstarts hits the right notes despite being naive in its length.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.