Movie Review - Sarabjit

Attributes: Movie Reviews

Director: Omung Kumar
Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadha, and Darshan Kumar.

A real-life, heartbreaking tale of Sarabjit Singh, a resident of a village on the Indo-Pak Border. One drunken night, he mistakenly crosses the border and gets captured by the Pakistani army on the suspicion of being an informant. He is framed with an identity of Ranjeet Singh as a terrorist. The film revolves around family's and especially his fiesty sister’s 23 year old struggle to release him. Days before his release, he is attacked by the jail inmates and he breathes his last in a Lahore Hospital. 
Starts off quite badly with a roller coaster of an introduction. With an abrupt scene in the night of the search for Sarbjit, it equally and abruptly moves to Sarbjit and his sister Dalbir in happier times. Then moves to her tragedy where she loses her new-born. 2 years later, she is abandoned by her husband. She moves back with her maternal family, loses Sarbjit and thus starts the saga.

The display of Sarbjit's ordeal after he is captured is quite graphic. Not to mention Randeep Hooda's potrayal of Sarabjit Singh is phenomenal and effortless. The film keeps showing such heart-wrenching moments of Sarbjit during his time in jail and Randeep does it complete justice.

For a film from a particular era the production design is given enough attention and is done well. But it is badly let down by a weak script and a poor dialogue delivery.

The film falters at the most basic of things. Like showing a current leading news anchor of a news channel reading a news from the late 90s. (And Lexi Pens in 1990? Product Placement gone wrong?) On the other hand, they crop up a fictional political party from the platform of which Aishwarya is seen making an appeal to the masses. At the same time, there are real footages from the Rajya Sabha discussion from those years. Such a dissonant display of facts is not just unacceptable but an abomination for a biopic. This makes one wonder if the film is truly a biopic or just loosely based on a real-life incident. The film makers' confusion can confound the audience. 

The saving grace of the film are performances of Aishwarya Rai and Randeep Hooda. Although Aishwarya's performance can get a tad-bit annoying with her 'Punjabi' screeching as she hogs almost all of the screen time. Richa Chadha who has proved herself with previous versatile performances does not get much of an opportunity to showcase her acting skills in the film as Sarbjit's wife. She is not given so much of a decent dialogue. She does get some chance and screen time quite later in the film which she pulls off quite well. Darshan Kumar's performance and character is decent but best not spoken of. 

The pace of the movie is engaging. But it seems too fast and unjustified for an ordeal of an entire family that lasted for 23 years. The first half of the movie covers 18 years of the entire incident. The run-time gets dragged and stretched disproportionately in the second half. 

Transformation of the characters is seamless and the work done pays off. But why should this just be limited to Aishwarya and Randeep's characters? Why not extend this to the movies' other characters and render it more authentic? Unfortunately that does not happen. Richa Chadha's character and Dalbir's estranged husband look more or less the same throughout as they did in 1990 in the film's timeline. 

In its pre-release, the film has heavily banked on character assimilation by Aishwarya and Randeep. Alas, you will be in for a real disappointment to witness the whole scheme of things on the big screen. 

Although the film does not trivialize the ordeal of Sarabjit and his family, the treatment given to the making of the film is too conventional,(thanks to the unnecessary songs) melodramatic (thanks to the background score) and not fit for a biopic. This treatment is what takes away from the seriousness of a biopic. The use of the pictures of the real Sarabjit Singh in the scenes of the movie didn't seem to be in good taste and could have been well avoided. It is in no way a respectable tribute to Sarabjit Singh. Or an acknowledgement of his family's struggle of 23 years. 

2.5 Shors out of 5!

Tags: Movie Review - Sarabjit, Sarabjit, Hindi Movie Review, Bollywood Movie Review

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