Rating: 2 stars
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Writer: Bhavani Iyer, Shantanu Srivastava, Meghna Gulzar
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Neeraj Kabi, Govind Namdev, Jaskaran Singh Gandhi and others
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Biopic film means that the events related to the life of the person whose biopic film is made should be presented on screen honestly. Biopic films are not made with any agenda. But Bollywood filmmakers also have their agenda in biopic films. They are not desisting from incorporating it. As a result, the film gets spoiled. Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar has done something similar with the biopic of the country's first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, "Sam Bahadur". The events of the tenure of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and third Prime Minister Indira Gandhi have been included, but the tenure of Lal Bahadur Shastri has been completely ignored. Whereas even during the tenure of the Late Lal Bahadur Shastri, Pakistan attacked India, and at that time, Sam Manekshaw was a part of the Indian Army.
The story of the film is of Sam Manekshaw, born in 1914 and who left this world in 2008. From Sam Manekshaw's visit to the Indian Military Academy during British rule, his love story, and his conversation during World War II when he took nine bullets, the British doctors present at the camp feel that any attempt to save him would be futile. The doctor asks him, why should we save you?. Sam tells a joke about this. Then the doctors treat them. Apart from this, there is the story of the Military Cross he received for his bravery in the war, the wars that led to the independence of East Pakistan from Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh, and his being made Field Marshal 15 days before retirement. The friendship between Sam Manekshaw and Yahiya Khan, Sam's relations with Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and other big Congress leaders are also described. There is also a story of Sam Manekshaw's wife Sillu being jealous of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Sam had shown bravery in a total of five wars - the Second World War (1942), the India-Pakistan Partition War (1947), and the India-China War (1962). , Indo-Pak War (1965), and Bangladesh Liberation War (1971). But there is no mention of the India-Pakistan war of 1965. He was awarded some of the most prestigious awards including Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, and Military Cross for Gallantry (World War II). He was also the first army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in the Indian Army.
Sam Manekshaw alias Sam Bahadur, despite being an army man, was an emotional and entertainment-loving person. However, there is a severe lack of human emotions and entertainment in this film. The director and two writers are women, who understand better the jealousy of women towards other women, hence they have presented the jealousy of Sam's wife Sillu towards Indira Gandhi. But the film focuses on Sam Bahadur's war techniques, his intelligence, and his ability to fight on paper before the real war started, to the allegations leveled against him after Sam's retirement, to the indifference given to the death of the country's first Field Marshal, the film remains silent. This exposes the weaknesses of all three writers of the film. Meaning, the writers and directors used silence as their weapon in those scenes in which Sam Bahadur's real personality emerged or his pain was revealed. Sam fought a total of five wars, but along with the Indo-Pak war of 1965, the country's second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri also did not get any place in this film. Not only this, General Arora has also become just a representative of SAM. Can this action of the director be forgiven?
The Indo-Pak War of 1971 is the most prestigious and important thing in Sam's life and history, but it ended with a bad song. Why was there such a hurry? The editor and sound engineer of the film have also done excellent work. Many scenes come later, but the dialogue related to them starts first.
Not only this, four war scenes of Sam Bahadur's 40-year military career should have been shown well. But before every battle in the film, only the war room and military headquarters are visible. The war scenes are just like a documentary film. So has Meghna Gulzar made any documentary on Sam? The film features original black-and-white documentary footage of the war with a background score. The romance between Sam and his wife Sillu was also not portrayed properly. Meghna Gulzar's Sam Bahadur (Vicky Kaushal) speaks Hindi extensively, along with English, a little Punjabi, and even Nepali. It is believed that Parsi Sam, born in Punjab, was dominated by the British. But to make his personality reach more people, the English dialogues could also have been in Hindi. He received Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in the film, but only one is not mentioned in the film. At least the writer and director have adopted a soft stance on Yahiya Khan, being careful not to generate any sympathy for the Pakistani general who would later become the President. Perhaps the director was aware of the producer's thinking. Because the film's producer Ronnie Screwvala is wise in not hurting the prevailing social, nationalist sentiments. A lot of nationalism and patriotism has been served in the film, it is welcome, but tampering with history is not right. Meghna Gulzar also failed to select suitable actors for the characters.
Vicky Kaushal in the role of Sam Bahadur has failed in many scenes. He has tried to capture Sam's gangly walk. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub appears artificially subdued in the role of Pakistani General Yahiya Khan. He could not do justice to this character. Neeraj Kabi does not fit the role of Jawaharlal Nehru from any point of view. On top of that, his acting is even more disappointing. Fatima Sana Shaikh in the role of Indira Gandhi and Govind Namdev in the role of Sardar Patel looks like Joker. Sanya Malhotra also disappoints in the role of Sam's wife Sillu. She does not fit the role of a Punjabi-Parsi woman from Delhi at all. The interesting thing is that Sam (Vicky Kaushal) and Sillu (Sanya Malhotra) do not age despite spending more than four decades of life together. No one's hair appeared to be white. This sounds ridiculous. Sam's son and daughter get married and have children, but neither of them has any gray hair.
- Shantiswarup Tripathi