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Sardar Ka Grandson Is Cute But Uninvolving



Sardar Ka Grandson(Netflix)

Starring Neena  Gupta, Arjun Kapoor,  Rakul Preet Singh

Directed by  Kaashvie Nair

Rating: **

  With Neena Gupta  and Arjun Kapoor playing the  eponymous  parts  Sardar Ka Grandson  promises  to  at least  regale us with one of  those  endlessly endearing  sagas of family ties… you know, like Prem Kishen and  ‘Dadaji’ Madan  Puri in the Rajshri  classic Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaye or  Salman and his grandfather Shammi Kapoor in Jab Pyar Kissise Hota Hai. Sadly—and I say this with  a heavy heart—Sardar Ka Grandson generates  as much chemistry  between the  Daadi-Grandson   pair as fire and  ice. Ms Gupta,otherwise such  an accomplished  actress gives one of her career’s hammiest performances  as a sullen sulky  Sadarni  Rupinder Kaur (was  the role written for  Sushma Seth)  who wants  her dying wish to be  fulfilled by her beloved grandson: she wants to see her ancestral home in  Lahore.

 Yes, this is one  of those steeped-in-nostalgia films about cross-border amity that  drowns into its own pool  of  sweetened  tears.It also  revels in a plot that threatens to  collapse under the  double weight of coincidences and  improbabilities.As far as improbabilities go try this :  when Daadi can’t  go to Lahore(she apparently insulted  the Mayor  of Lahore  once at an Indo-Pak cricket match) her ancestral  home  is brought to  Amritsar  by  a process known as  structure relocation.    No one said a building can be  moved 50 kms by this cumbersome near-impossible  process.  But the brainwave  hit this film’s  team so hard that they just decided to go for it,  disregarding the basic  logistics and  practical problems(we are talking about moving a two-storey building  from not just one  city to another but also from a country  completely hostile to  the other) hoping that the emotional sway  of the  idea would be so  powerful that all skepticism about the sheer logistics   of the main  premise . would be swept aside.

 Regrettably no such miracle happens.  For most of its 2 ½ hour length(way tooooo  long!)    the  film remains more  admirable  for  trying to implement   a near-impossible  idea rather than  arriving at any  satisfying closure

  Along with   the ‘grand’ Daadi-Pota   idea with  ailing Daadi and wailing  Family  plodding along from one saccharine  absurdity to  another, with the characters in ‘Lahore’ speaking to one another with every sentence prefixed with ‘Janaab’,  grandson  Amreek Singh has his own heart problems.

As  Arjun  Kapoor’s love interest all Rakul Preet Singh  has to do is  be there for her man. So much for  the empowered female  protagonist. While one female heroine in this  film thinks emotional manipulation  at an autumnal age is  cute, the  other thinks following her  man around after he has  repeatedly taken her for granted is some kind of  a salvation for the post-feminist modern woman.

The  performances range from the hammy to the clammy . Redoubtable actors  like Kumud Mishra(playing the aforementioned mayor), Soni Razdan(wearing one sourpuss expression  throughout  the  prolonged narrative) and Divya Seth(reduced to playing a pumped up nostril-flaring  prop) seem  lost in the  fumes  of  bonhomie that swirl  in this dreary fairytale confection.

Aditi Rao and John Abraham   play  the  younger  versions  of  Neena Gupta and her  husband in Lahore.As absurd as that may sound,this is  easier to believe than the whole idea  of  a home being translocated  from Lahore to Amritsar.

For a  first-time director  Kaashvie Nair  has some fresh  ideas.All she has to do next time is to make sure the ideas are rooted  to at least a semblance of  credibility . We know  faith  can move mountains. But this is  ridiculous.

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