I’m not going to write a regular review on this one that mixes things like acting, writing, screenplay, music and directing because I don’t really think this is a movie made to glorify that hardcore patriotism of India’s history. Creating commercial jiongist patterns such as ‘Border’ (1997), ‘Uri’ (2019) and ‘Shershaah’ (2021) is easy and safe because you will ensure that our mass audience will fall for patriotic emotions and forgive cinematic mistakes. But making a relevant and thought-provoking film like ‘Haqeeqat’ is still a dream for the new generation of filmmakers. Sardar Udham is high end triggering drama with strong taste of Shoojit Sircar style. Those who expect a quality cinema and want to wait a while are welcome and those who want to whistle and scream during mass scenes should not watch this film. Sardar Udham is typically Shoojit Sircar-style slow burn but also tries to rediscover the patriotic biographical genre in Indian cinema on the level of what Hollywood did with films like ‘Patton’ (1970) and ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993).
The Jalianwala Bagh massacre is one of the most brutal events ever to have happened in any corner of the world in the 20th century. But how many times have you felt that pain even today, save for the anniversary trends on social media and a few glimpses in a freedom fighter’s biopic in Indian Cinema? We’ve seen this particular event in many biopics from Bhagat Singh to Gandhi to Sardar Patel and a few more, but Sardar Udham is probably the only movie that has made a big deal out of creating a full plot that influences is because of that terrible mass care. I remember watching the film by Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, which showed one of those Russian massacres in brutal ways and who knew in the world that those scenes from a silent movie shot in the 1920s decade were the most amazing massacre scenes. would remain in film history. Sardar Udham could well be that for Bollywood Cinema. Especially those last 40 minutes where you feel the pain of Udham, a teenager, who didn’t really understand what just happened and it kept torturing him for 2 decades. He eventually took revenge and yet it feels like a soft punishment because you hate the British Empire so much that even shooting a man in front of 50 people feels so much less. Britons had brutally murdered hundreds in the Jalianwala Bagh massacre and the harshest sentences in the world cannot justify that. Sardar Udham is about this ideology, not revenge. There are thousands of acts of revenge in the history of India, but not all of them became universal ideologies.
One of the best things I’ve noticed about Sardar Udham is that it shows the fatal state of mind of the British government during the Second World War. You know, World War II is one of the main reasons behind India’s independence, but our historians and filmmakers have always overlooked this fact. You should know that the British saw it coming back what they did to India. In this film there is a quote to explain this: “Germany is calling. The sun seems to be finally setting on the British Empire. Like an elephant, Indians never forget their enemies” and the next two scenes where Udham Singh twice the law question, once in court before the judge and once during the investigation for the detective.Do you remember a Bollywood movie that gives such details about ideology and morals?Leave that topic for further arguments later.
So overall Sardar Udham is quite the break from commercial pot boilers and there are many reasons to make it a must see in your watch list as a true quality cinema aficionado. However, a few shortcomings should be beaten as much as I praised good things. The movie starts off very slow, it looks scattered and irrelevant at times, but maybe that’s because Udham’s story never has enough documents and public domain events available. I won’t say much about acting and other aspects as said in the beginning, but for Vicky Kaushal I say one thing that he has completely surrendered to the director’s uncompromising vision. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes home a bunch of trophies after the awards ceremony next year. Shoojit Sir, you have tried something revolutionary and respect yourself for it. Nevertheless, I still say it could have been a little better or a certain classic. However, it misses that Mark by a few centimeters. Rest, highly recommended. A worthy tribute to underdog Udham Singh and his friend, brother and idol ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh’.
RATING – 4/5* 🌟🌟🌟🌟
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