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Producer- Ronni Lahiri and Sheel Kumar

Director- Shoojit Sircar

Star Cast- Vicky Kaushal, Banita Sandhu, Shaun Scott, Stephen Hogan, Kirsty Averton and Amol Parasher

Genre- Biopic

OTT Platform- Amazon Prime Video

Rating- ***

Traumatizing but well documented!

Jyothi Venkatesh

Earlier we have had films on the same person like Jallianwala Bagh in 1977 and Shaheed Uddham Singh in 2000.

The film sets out to pay a long overdue and fitting tribute to India’s unsung hero — Sardar Udham Singh (Vicky Kaushal), an Indian revolutionary, who assassinated Michael O’Dwyer in London (in 1940), to avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (of 1919), after a struggle which took him over several years to places like Russia and London in his avowed pursuit, 20 years after he had witnessed the massacre when he was just 20.

The former British colonial official was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab (British India) at the time.

Dwyer had justified the brutal killing of hundreds of protesters during a demonstration at Jallianwala Bagh in the city of Amritsar, Punjab.

What is likeable about this biopic is the fact that Shoojit doesn’t take a myopic look at heroism or freedom and presents a hero who doesn’t at all seem invincible or hero-like.

Udham didn’t hate the man or his country who spurred the massacre but his fight was against the British ideology of conquering others’ right to live and speak freely.

Though the biggest minus point of the film and director Shoojit is that he has chosen not to take a linear approach to filmmaking, Vicky Kaushal deserves kudos for setting out to get into the skin of his character as Sardar Udham Singh with effortless ease at the same time exercising a lot of restraint.

Banita Sandhu is a revelation as Uddham’s beloved who expresses her emotion without any dialogue as she is a dumb girl.

Has Shoojit signed her to a contract that she can act in only his films like October and Sardar Udham?

Shaun Scott who plays Micheal O’Dwyer allows his racist character’s ugly condescension to do the talking and does not succumb to the temptation to caricature the villain of the plot.

Ritesh Shah’s hard hitting dialogues take you to another world altogether. Though Chandrashekhar Prajapati ought to have edited the film which has a running time that exceeds two hours and forty minutes, slickly to make it more gripping as well as appealing, DOP Avik Mukhopadhyay shows his wizardry in almost each and every scene, it is creditable that Sircar has succeeded lot to manage to chronicle the tragedy and its aftermath without turning his film into a call for vendetta.

To put it in a nutshell, all I can say about the film Sardar Udham is that though it does induce the viewer to sleep as it progresses at a snail’s pace leading to the anticipated traumatizing climax of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, it is too good an attempt by the director who has made meaningful films like Vicky Donor and October

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