Varun Grover’s ‘All India Rank’ screens at Dharamshala International Film Festival: A unique take on IIT aspirants’ struggles

“I figured that I can be a bit better writer for other directors. I need to be more precise in writing, I get carried away with too many sub tacks and too many plots and we had remove some of it,” said Varun Grover while speaking at screening of his first feature film “All Indian Rank” at the 12th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF).

“All India rank” is a drama-comedy film about that talk about the intense sentiments of family and followed actions that goes behind every IIT aspirant. The film follows Vivek, a student who is sent away from home to prepare for IIT entrance. The film is an internal monologue of Vivek, who confused, reluctant and has no idea clear dream of his future.

Actor Bodhisattva Sharma is so convincing as Vivek that one can relate to his conflicts and anxiety. All the characters of the films are very well researched and played with a sincerity connecting its audience to the story. 

Talking about the script, Grover said that “this is a subject very close to my heart” as the writer-director thread his real life experience into his narration for the film.

“In India, the pressure to choose what you want to be in life is too early. At 16 you have to decide what you want to be, actually, you don’t decide the society has decided and they want you to confirm to that decision that they have made. So I feel it is very wrong, almost like killing actual youth, when you can be free and confused. But, we have this pressure of getting into salaried job, and those salaried jobs come from either engineering or doctor kind of stream. So I wanted to have a commentary on that but also in a very personal way,” said Grover adding that he did not want to make a film which is preachy and telling people to do this or that.

“I just wanted people to feel the possibilities of that time and those possibilities lie more in confusion and being aimless rather than having a clear goal in life,” he further added.  

Grover also shared his experience of first time directing said that direction is very very different process. “I did not know what was getting into. But, when I was writing, I knew this is the film that I want to direct. I can’t give this script to anyone. It is so personal,” he said.

Grover, who is one of India’s prominent screenplay writer, a lyricists and a stand-up comedian has beautifully sketched out the film in a simplest way. Though the topic of IIT aspirants and their struggle are no new to film business as several content has been made but Grover’s “All India Rank” stands out due to its effortless way of presentation. Grover has fantastically told a story of a boy, who may have remained confused about what to become but in the end he knows what he need is to find “control” in the process of figuring out what he wants.

Summing up his experience of steeping into the world of direction, Grover said, “It has been a learning process both as a director and writer but more as a writer, I would say. There was a lot of eye-opening thing”.

“All Indian Rank” has made appearances at several film festivals including the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2023), Indian Film Festival Melbourne (2023), Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (2023), and Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival (2023) before it was screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival, which will continue until 7th November. 

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