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Sarbjit Movie Review: It has immense poignancy at its heart!

HSubhash K Jha has had second thoughts on Sarbjit…read his revised review to know why. Hooda, Aishwarya & Richa Invest Emotional Angst In This Over-The-Top Drama

Starring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Randeep Hood, Richa Chadha

Directed by: Omung Kumar

Movie Review: Sarbjit is not a film that holds itself back. It is a stormy rousing chest-thumping epic saga of  a sister who rages against the injustice of her brother’s incarceration across the border. Director Omung Kumar skillfully weaves scenes of family ties and their rude rupture through a skilful pattern of bright flashbacks and dreadfully pessimistic present-times when Sarbjit , locked up in a dingy cell far from home , mourns for the loss of freedom.

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Aishwariya Rai
Aishwariya Rai

The sibling theme is treated with a exacerbated energy by Omung Kumar. This is not a film that believes in subtleties.

Randeep Hooda
Randeep Hooda

Kumar lets it all hang out. The background music, the dubbing and sound effects are amplified to augur an operatic angst.The volume is upped to an ‘ouch’ degree.

The scenes of  Sarjbit’s torture and his sense of suffocation inside his dingy kerchief-sized cell are vividly captured.When he is not busy trying to make his star cast pander to public tastes  director Omung Kapoor demonstrates a firm grip over the proceedings. The actors do the rest. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is in ample,and amplified,  command over her character’s gutsy endeavour to break down the defences. Though the performance gets shrill at times, it never loses it power.

 

Randeep Hooda’s physical transformation as  a traumatized prisoner is astonishing and convincing. He invests life-enforcing power into his role of a man who is locked away from home until his death. While Darshan Kumaar as a compassionate Pakistani lawyer(yes, the neighbours are portrayed as humane) and Ankur Bhatia as Aishwarya’s husband merge into the tragic fabric of the real-life saga with effortless sandour , it is Richa Chadha as Sarbjit’s wife who is the real surprise.

Powered by heart-breaking  restrain and screaming silences this is Richa’s most accomplished performance to date.Makes you wonder what the film would have been like if it was told from Sarjbit’s wife’s perspective.

As for this being Ms Bachchan’s Mother India, I am not  too sure if hyperbole is an option here. Sarbjit has immense poignancy at its heart. But the execution of the theme of a homesick dying man imprisoned in a hostile country often tends to lean dangerously close to populism.

You can’t have singing and dancing in a film that champions the cause of  political incarceration. Not without losing the impact of the original drama.Sarbjit manages to keep its head above the water even while the proceedings frequently revel in  the ponderous.

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