Movie review – Sarbjit – Randeep Hooda makes it worth knowing the man

Movie review – Sarbjit – Randeep Hooda makes it worth knowing the man
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By Joginder Tuteja

If not for Randeep Hooda, Sarbjit wouldn’t have been half the movie that it eventually turns out to be. The man literally lives and breathes the real life character of Sarbjit, so much so that you end up wondering how it must have been nothing less than ‘kaal kothri’ for Randeep himself while shooting for the film. The man shoots almost all his scenes in a claustrophobic space that makes one believe that filming it all must have taken a toll on Randeep’s mental, physical and emotional state.

While Randeep makes Sarbjit worth a visit to know the man who was in jail for over 20 years, what turns out to be a tad painful for the audience too is the manner in which director Omung Kumar narrates the tale. Frankly, in the first half, I was almost certain at at least a couple of points that may be the makers had taken a conscious call to get rid of the interval point. Reason being that the film goes on and on and on without any respite and just one hour seems like a couple of hours gone by. There is just no major peak in the storytelling due to which there is no real build up towards the interval point.

Thankfully, when it eventually comes, you like what you see as it leads one to believe that there would be more exciting moments from here on. However, this is where you realize that the film is so devoted to narrating the film from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s point of view that the subject in question, Sarbjit, too doesn’t get as much screen time as one would have liked. Yes, it is all depressing and disturbing but still, at least Randeep elevates the proceedings with his performance. Same can’t be said though for Aishwarya for whom it is clearly visible that she is trying hard, and being convincing only at a few places, mainly in the second half when she ages.

This could have been better though had there been scissors brought into place for all the chest thumping in motion. Clichés are thrown in and dialogues like ‘Hum hindustaaniyon ne peeth dikhaana seekha hi nahi’ are from Gadar and Maa Tujhe Salaam space. That works in a Sunny Deol set up, not Sarbjit where ‘being real’ would have been more effective.

That said, there are moments where you do want the improbable to happen, despite knowing very well how the story would eventually conclude. That is made possible by the entry of Darshan Kumar, who plays a Pakistani lawyer out on a mission to get ‘insaaf’ for Sarbjit. Somehow, his earnest intentions makes you believe that history could have been something else after all. Sadly, that doesn’t happen, something that is reflected well in the resigned state of affairs that Richa Chadha demonstrates so very well in a controlled, yet effective act. From the ‘half widow’s act of Tabu (Haider) to Richa here, there is a whole range of acting that you see.

Now if only Sarbjit too had a whole range of emotions in its entire duration, it could well have been landmark affair. For now though, it is for those who wish to see how Randeep is an actor who is worthy enough for many more applauses in years to come.

Rating: ***

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