If Sardar Udham review can be summarized in one line – Shoojit Sircar & Vicky Kaushal show the true patriotism without chest thumping gimmicks. With a run-time of about two hours and forty-two minutes, Sircar’s newest film is a slow burner that gives you a taste of a colonial Indian with a James Bond-esque protagonist (minus the martinis & ladies) that evades authorities across countries to avenge the deaths of Jallianwala Bagh victims.
The film at times loses its grip on the viewers – but the fault is not on the director – but the undertaking of an event that took years in making.
The Facts of the Matter
Amid all the atrociousness of Bhuj: The Pride of India, all the suspension of belief in Bell Bottom, comes a film that truly shows what patriotism is. Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham comes without any gimmicks of chest-thumping & unnecessary jingoism.
The film focuses on the life and times of Indian revolutionary Udham Singh, and his mission of assassinating General Dyer, the man responsible for the brutal Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
Sardar Udham: Direction & Cinematography
Shoojit Sircar has proven himself to be a master of slow burn films. Take Varun Dhawan starring October for example. The film showed the silent cacophony a hospital witnesses with an endearing love story in the center.
Similarly, Sardar Udham is a slow burn with a lot of moving pieces that will ask patience from viewers. Shoojit’s decision of capturing Vicky Kaushal as Udham Singh moving in shadows across continents is brave, and very much what Shoojit would do.
Cinematography is another aspect where the film excels. The gloomy Russian mornings, the vibrant Indian noons and the looming despondency of prison is shot with finesse and precision.
Sardar Udham: Performances
Unlike the slew of films about national interest that have come in the past where intentions of actors are backed by loud background score for more meaning, Sardar Udham relies on silence. Vicky Kaushal’s depiction of a battle hardened yet weary revolutionary is one of his best performances yet. Though the film could’ve done even better with Irrfan Khan, the actor who solely acted with his eyes, Kaushal leaves an impact.
Amol Parashar’s performance as Bhagat Singh also shines bright amid other performances. His scenes with Kaushal leave a mark while moving the story forward. It was a shame that he had fewer scenes in the film. Similarly, Banita Sindhu plays Udham’s love interest with effortless grace. However, she too just remains a love interest that had little-to-no impact on the story.
Interestingly, Sircar also gives our antagonists layers, which make them more human. Shaun Scott as Michael O’Dwyer, Stephen Hogan as Detective Inspector Swain and Andrew Havill as General Reginald Dyer all give fantastic performances.
Sardar Udham: Screenplay and Dialogues
If the direction and performances of Sardar Udham elevates the film, its screenplay and dialogues leave something amiss. The screenplay with the decision of following Udham doing trivial jobs in different countries and moving with him at times feel tedious and too demanding.
The pace of the film never come to a screeching halt, but the laborious screenplay where viewers are asked to connect the dots between multiple events, may make them run out of patience.
Dialogues are one of the key aspects of any drama film, especially if it deals with patriotic themes. At times, dialogues by Bhagat Singh and Udham himself feel out-of-place.
Sardar Udham Singh: Verdict
Do not watch Sardar Udham if you want a loud, incoherent film on patriotism that paints the heroes in white and villains in black. Watch the film to immerse yourself in the Colonial India, and take the journey of a man who avenges the death of his countrymen, while dealing with his own self-reflection.