Shoojit Sircar's ‘Sardar Udham’ perhaps is one of the most enthralling patriotic films of our times

By Suruchi Das

Amazon Prime Video’s new release Sardar Udham is directed by Shoojit Sircar and is based on the life of the revolutionary Sardar Udham Singh, who fought for India’s freedom from the colonial rule of the British.

Director Shoojit Sircar is a master of creating slow-burns, one of the mesmerizing past examples being ‘October’, the director has yet again very carefully and with rigorous effort has churned out melancholy and pain for the audience with this dark, inspiring chapter of India’s freedom struggle.

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

The film revolves around how Shaheed Sardar Udham Singh was inspired to participate in the fight against British colonial rule and executed the plan to assassinate former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, Michael O’ Dwyer, under whose command General Reginal Dyer executed the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.

Sardar Udham is rich in its depiction of what went down, with an amalgamation of true facts and reimagining of the past. The film which was fully based on released reports and news in the public domain has been able to create a meticulously thought out, and succinctly executed cinema. The non-linear format of the storytelling, which is jumping to and forth through time is trying to tell the audience, what and how it all happened, and it ultimately reaches the point where Sardar Udham finally assassinated O’Dwyer.

This is the third time Vicky Kaushal is in a film that is of the biopic genre. Looking at his filmography one observes the actor is fantastic when it comes to portraying a human being who has been the victim of personal loss, adding to that true patriotic fervour borne out that painful passion. Vicky barely smiles in the film; a man with a plan with nothing to lose, just holding onto a far-fetched dream of independence, of free speech, freedom.

Amol Parashar who played Bhagat Singh in the film is another unexpected feat of this film. The actor might have given one of the best on-screen performances as the legendary Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Parashar brought a generic, humane youthful charm to the character, adding to the remorse of the inevitable. As the history which entailed the life of Sardar Udham Singh was an untouched piece up until now, it was always prone to becoming just another good idea for a period piece. Thus, it became necessary that the story must be told and in a way that should not be a legacy to many more patriotic, typical Bollywood films which came before it.

Shoojit Sircar very tactfully connected the paths between the known and the unknown. He added some essence that followed the norms yet, beautifully divulging from the obvious at the threshold. The film resembles poetry in its picturization, reaching deep into the psyche of the troubled youth who knew too much of ‘it’ and not the ‘how’, which perhaps troubled him till he finally reached his goal. Touching upon all the facets of trauma, remorse, struggle, hard work both physical and mental, Shoojit Sircar and his brilliant writers Shubhendu Bhattacharya and Ritesh Shah have created a world that keeps you hooked in till the last moment.

Sardar Udham is undoubtedly one of the finest films of our times which is refined, well structured, thoroughly researched and embedded with genuine human emotions. The director is not only showing, but also trying to enlighten his audience in the process of retelling the fight and sacrifice our forefathers put in for our independence.