One of the best parts about Mani Ratnam’s 2004 critically acclaimed Yuva is Abhishek Bachchan’s raw and rustic Lallan Singh. Lallan is as human as they come, he has his frailties, one of the primary being that he never knows when to stop. As a man, he is not admirable except maybe in his persistence to go after what he desires. Lallan is abusive, greedy and petty, but despite his flaws, he is still somehow dynamic. A great mix of contradictions brought alive by Abhishek Bachchan’s portrayal of the character.
Before Mani Ratnam’s Yuva, the actor had had a slew of unsuccessful films like Zameen, Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost and Kuch Naa Kaho. However, it was with Yuva that Abhishek won over critics and after rewatching Abhishek in certain sequences, it becomes clear why the role brought him immediate recognition.
While his UP accent slips, falls and climbs throughout the movie, what makes the performance shine is the actor’s earnestness to give a 100 percent to his job. Lallan’s joy and his eagerness to make a name for himself in the world often overtakes the love he holds dear for his partner, played by Rani Mukerji in the movie. At one point in time, he asks Vijay Raaz’s character in the film about whether he should abandon his love. ‘Should I send her back?’ he asks, in a tone touched by equal parts confusion and exasperation and it is in this scene that Lallan urgently overpowers Abhishek and thank god for that.
In Yuva, Abhishek walks with the swagger of a wannabe don and his demeanour throughout most of the film speaks of an unshakeable confidence, that special brand of confidence possessed by those who know what they want but have no plan of action. That kind of unfounded but firm belief is something that is a pain to describe in words and more so via actions. But Abhishek does it with Lallan, he shows Lallan as the directionless but determined goon who is ruthless in his pursuit of ambitions.
Two actors who helped Abhishek’s character to spread the movie magic were Rani Mukerji and Vijay Raaz. While Vijay played the perfect sidekick to Lallan, it was Rani’s emotional vulnerability that helped feed Abhishek’s Lallan and made it that much more real. And to top it all, Abhishek had Mani Ratnam as the captain of the ship.
Now Abhishek is all set to make a comeback to the big screen after a two-year break, here’s hoping that his return to cinema is as memorable as his performance in Yuva.