'Sardar Udham': Shoojit Sircar delivers brilliant recreation of colonial horrors
In his first biopic, Sardar Udham, Shoojit Sircar does exactly what is expected of him. While retelling the story of a relatively lesser-known revolutionary, the filmmaker presents us with a realistic tale of a man battered by a heartbreaking tragedy. The revolutionary is not jingoistic but clear and logical in his ideologies. Vicky Kaushal in the lead gives a nuanced performance. Here's our review.
The 162-minute film focuses on Udham Singh's fight for independence, his struggles with morals and ideals, and ultimately his revenge. Singh had carried the burden of witnessing the death of hundreds in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre for two decades. Finally, he had avenged his people by killing the man who sanctioned the killings, Michael O'Dwyer, in 1940 in London.
The plot is simple and we have had many movies on the massacre. But like other slices of history, the incident is also simply an event of the past for many who didn't personally know the horror. Sircar painstakingly recreates the horror on-screen with his art directors Mansi Mehta and Dmitriy Malich so raw that the last 30 minutes become difficult to sit through.
Sircar, who envisioned making a film on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre 20 years ago, focuses on Singh, a man who waited 20 years to attain peaceful sleep. It is perhaps the weight of these waitings that make the film paced the way it is. In many scenes, you might feel the narration is slow but patience is what makes the watching experience richer.
Given the majority of the dialogue is in English (British English at that) and the movie is nearly three-hour-long, going OTT with the release is the correct choice. Interestingly, Sircar again casts Banita Sandhu in a voice-less role after October. Amol Parashar charms immediately just like the character he is playing. Sardar Udham is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Verdict: It gets 3.5/5.