Sarbjit: A poignant tale of captivity, spoiled by loads of melodrama!
Cast- Randeep Hooda, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Richa Chadda, Darshan Kumar
Direction- Omung Kumar
Last week witnessed the release of one of the highly anticipated biopics- 'Azhar', which was based on the life of tainted Indian Cricketer, Mohammed Azharuddin. This week, another biopic- 'Sarbjit' has taken the box office by storm. Warped on the life of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian farmer who was feloniously convicted by a Pakistani Court on charges of Terrorism and Spying, 'Sarbjit' promises to be an excruciating tale of incarceration. But will be the film be even close to what has been promised by the trailer, or will it be another 'Azhar'? Read on to find out.
Indian filmmakers still have a long way to go when it comes to mastering the art of making biopics. While 'Azhar' was a commercial venture vitiated by manipulated facts, but saved by Hashmi's performance, 'Sarbjit' is a much more veristic approach on the subject matter. However, 'Sarbjit' couldn't save itself from falling into the clutches of melodrama, which dilutes the tension created in the first few scenes!
One fateful night, Sarbjit (Hooda), a squiffed farmer from Punjab, crosses the India-Pak border and is wrongfully convicted by a Pakistani Court on charges of Terrorism and Spying. The movie focuses on his sister Dalbit (Aishwarya), who boils the ocean to set her brother free. But will her efforts pay off?
If you happen to be a telly addict, you might know that an episode, loosely based on Sarabjit Singh, was telecast in a famous Crime Show. While the episode was a heart wrenching narrative adapted for the 'U' audiences, its silver screen counterpart depicts the harsh conditions Sarbjit is subjected to. The screenplay starts off on a brilliant note, making you commiserate for Hooda. Gradually, the film strikes a different note, becoming loud and irritating in certain parts, giving you the feel of a 90's film. Same holds true for the dialogues.
However, it is Hooda's jaw-dropping performance, that makes the film worth watching! He is one such actor who can be moulded into anything, such versatility is sure to garner him a lot of accolades. Richa Chadda, who plays Sarbjit's wife in the film, has the least screen time, but she makes her presence felt with an excellent performance. However, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan disappoints a tad with her performance. Being the centre-stage of the film, she does carry the film efficiently on her shoulders. But in certain parts, she goes over-the-top and cringy and couldn't resist herself from overacting! She is best in scenes where she doesn't screech much; she nails it with her silence. Her sibling chemistry with Hooda is best portrayed in scenes, where it doesn't matter much- towards the end. Darshan Kumar (seen in Mary Kom and NH10), as Sarbjit's lawyer, plays his part perfectly and doesn't disappoint.
Kiran Deohans' cinematography deserves an applause. He brilliantly portrays the atmosphere of the dingy cell where Sarbjit is captivated. The film could have been a bit more crisp in terms of editing, but nevertheless, it is not so disappointing.
Director Omung Kumar lacks the finesse he had displayed in Mary Kom. He could've thought of better methods of depicting struggle and protests, rather than just shrills. Rather than making the film a platform for Aishwarya to display her skills, he should have given proper emphasis on the narrative, which lacks the punch!
Final Verdict- If not anything, then watch it for Hooda's excellent performance!