Director: Shoojit Sircar
Writers: Ritesh Shah, Shubhendu Bhattacharya
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Shaun Scott, Stephan Hogan, Banita Sandhu, and Amol Parashar
Genre: History, Biopic
Streaming On Amazon Prime.
Sardar Udham, the new amazon original movie directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a slow burn masterpiece that stays away from the usual biopic tropes and yet packs a solid punch. At a time when biopics produced in the country act as mere propaganda vehicles or thrive on jingoism for success, Sardar Udham comes with a single motive of educating its audience about a daring revolutionary act, which had its say in shaping up our freedom struggle.
The film tracks the life of Sardar Udham from 1919 to his death in 1941, with his famous assassination of General O’Dwyer and the interrogations that followed being the major focus point of the narrative. Majority of the biopics produced in the west have always tried to respect its history and paint an informative and genuine picture of an event/personality in focus, to its audience. However, the same does not hold true in the Indian context. Events are often over glorified and mixed with cinematic liberties where the final act is given more prominence than the cause behind it.
Sardar Udham successfully breaks this cliché. Its focus isn’t completely on the valour of the man but also on his journey. It explores the psychological after effects the Jallianwala Bagh massacre had on a boy and how it pushed him to take the side of violence. With careful writing and brutal attention to detail, Sardar Udham manages to justify the revolutionary act of its protagonist against the imperialistic rule of the British empire.
Vicky Kaushal has given his everything to the character. From a naïve 20-year-old who witnesses the plight of his people to a determined 40-year-old, clear about his path and its ramifications, he encapsulates the emotional journey through an arresting performance. Shaun Scott as the evil general Micheal O’Dwyer and Stephan Hogan as Inspector Swain provide effective performances. Amol Parashar as Bhagat Singh was memorable in his brief appearance. A special mention to the casting team for selecting apt actors for the portrayal of British characters.
Technically the film is top notch. Shoojit Sircar and his team of writers Ritesh Shah and Shubhendu Bhattacharya have made sure to keep Sardar Udham as informative as possible and provide a detailed picture on what sparked the revolution in the man. Avik Mukhopadhyay’s frames does wonders and the way he has shot the last 40 minutes deserves a special mention. Shantanu Moitra’s poignant music gels in with the emotional undertone of the narrative. The efforts put in by the makeup team is also appreciable especially in the last act.
At a runtime of 162 minutes, the film might feel overlong but overall Sardar Udham is a must watch for its honest depiction of one of the most significant events that shaped up our freedom struggle. A true biopic in every sense.
Verdict : 6/7 stars
Irrfan Khan was offered the film,but due to his poor health, he turned the lead role down.
The real life character of Uddham Singh has been the subject of a total of 4 films by now.
Director Shoojit Sircar’s first biopic
This is Vicky Kaushal’s third biopic after Sanju and Uri.