Netflix's ‘Upstarts’ review: A sweet film about the start-up ecosystem in India

Rating: 3/5

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When I first heard the concept of Upstarts, I thought this would be an Indian version of Silicon Valley. For those unaware, Silicon Valley is an American sitcom about a start-up company and its founders and is an absolute must-watch according to me. Coming back to Upstarts, as soon as I saw the trailer it was evident that the only similarity the two shows have is that the underlying theme of start-ups. The show was released on October 18 and I watched it over the weekend and here is my review of Upstarts.

It is a story of Kapil (Priyanshu Painyuli), who collaborates with his two friends Yash (Chandrachoor Rai) & Vinay (Shadab Kamal) to start a company of their own Carrykaro.  Kapil is very moved with a death of an old man and this makes him ponder and in all the brainstorming, he and his friends come up with this idea. However, they are unable to sustain this novel cause due to lack of funds.

The entire startup ecosystem is very well captured in the movie and one does get to see how even with a brilliant idea entrepreneurs have to go from door to door seeking funds to stay afloat. In addition, the movie also manages to capture how after getting the necessary seed funding, the start-ups tend to go on a big splurge and deviate away from their core idea but most of the things seem to be over simplified and lacks an emotional connect.

I liked couple of subplots in the show. One of them was that of Jaya (Sheetal Thakur), who is shown as Kapil’s friend or girlfriend. Even she dreams to be an entrepreneur and is seeking funds for her start-up that focuses of mental health. Not only does she has to keep selling her idea but also has to convince panels of men at investor meets on how she would continue to fuel her start-up even if she gets married or has a family. Similarly, one sees Eijaz Khan in a small role as an entrepreneur who has managed to strike gold but later on ousted from his own company. If this plot could have been interwoven more closely with the main story, it might have had a greater impact.

Priyanshu Painyuli as Kapil does not manage to strike out. However, both his friends Chandrachoor Shadab Kamal deliver a great performance. Rajeev Siddhartha who plays the role of Veer Diwan is well suited for the role. Wish we could have seen more of Eijaz Khan in his role. Overall, it is a nice story that starts off well but in the middle kind of gets lost.

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