sardar udham review
Movie Review, REVIEWS

Sardar Udham Review: Sets the bar high for this genre

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Shaun Scott, Amol Parshar

Rating: 3.5/5

Udham Singh is on a mission to kill General Michael O’Dwyer, the former Punjab governor who helmed the Jallianwala Bagh mass genocide of 1919. His only motive is to seek vengeance and mark his protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. But the year is 1940, more than twenty years since the incident happened. Why would someone let revenge marinate in his head for such a long period? What led him to nurture this vengeance for twenty-one years that he traveled all the way from Amritsar to London under fake identities to murder someone? It is the last forty minutes of the film, Sardar Udham that answer these questions.

Oscillating between the years 1927 to 1940, Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham opens with the titular character establishing his agendas and purpose of his absconding from Amritsar. Drawn from a real story, there is little known in the books about Udham Singh. To build an entire film spanning two hours and forty minutes nestled in the pre-independence era is not something that can be pulled off with ease. But Shoojit Sircar has done his magic again and gives us a biographical movie that meticulously stands out.

While the first half of the movie attempts to put things into place, the last forty minutes is where the soul of the movie lies. We have had many movies giving us a glimpse of the deadly massacre of 1919 that happened in Jallianwala Bagh. Shoojit does not give us a glimpse, he walks us through the entire event and every second of it is heart-wrenching. Torn arms and legs, people gasping for breath, dogs feeding on the flesh of the dead; the camera lingers over the horrors of the incident with details. A teenage Udham is traumatized at the sight as he struggles to save as many lives as possible.

If it weren’t for Shoojit Sircar, this segment could have easily been turned into something very unnatural and thus would have failed to imbibe the horrific aftermath of the massacre.

As a movie based on nationalistic sentiments, the makers of the movie have ensured not to stereotype Sardar Udham as a heart-thumping, jingoistic movie. Every moment of Sardar Udham feels real and the intentions are well clear.

Vicky Kaushal is bestowed with a huge responsibility as an actor to bring life to the unsung hero. He does that with perfection. The hollowness of a traumatized man and his quest for revolution could not be brought any better. The foreign actors who play the Britishers associated with the story ensure not to become mere caricatures. Amol Parashar’s Bhagat Singh is charming in the brief appearance that he makes. I felt that we could have had a little bit more of his scenes. Banita Sandhu, who was also a part of Shoojit’s October, does a brief appearance as Udham’s love interest.

Thanks to the wonderful job done by the production design with the set of Sardar Udham, the imperialistic era is well palpable.

Sardar Udham, with proper stability and control in its narrative, raises the bar for this genre in Bollywood. Shoojit Sircar’s dream project is nothing less than a masterpiece and is worth all the hype.

Image Courtesy: YouTube

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