About Sardar Udham
It isn’t easy making a biopic or a film inspired by true events. Well, Shoojit Sircar refuses to call Sardar Udham a biopic and it’s obvious why. Sardar Udham’s name might not evoke an immediate memory, as opposed to a Bhagat Singh. And there is very little information about his life and events leading to his martyrdom. Udham wasn’t a mainstream name in the revolutionary fight leading up to Independence, but he was responsible for the one event that changed the course of history as we know it. Sardar Udham assassinated Michael O’Dwyer, who was Punjab’s Lieutenant Governor when the Jallianwala Bagh massacre occurred in Amritsar, on 13 April 1919.
About the characters of the movie
Sardar Udham has Vicky Kaushal play the lead role and take on one of the most complex and challenging roles of his career. The film oscillates between the present and past, giving us flashbacks of what led Udham on his path of vengeance. The Jallianwala Bagh incident serves as a catalyst in Udham’s journey to England where he acts on his instinct and shoots O’Dwyer point-blank. But Shoojit’s movie is not about this stand-alone incident. In fact, the first hour or so of the film introduces us to Udham, his friends, the early influences in his life. There is also a cameo by Amol Parashar who plays Bhagat Singh, perhaps the only other name apart from O’Dwyer that’s etched in our history pages.
What we think of the movie
Though the film has technical finesse, it has several hiccups in the way it builds its narrative. Not wanting to be jingoistic or resort to chest-thumping, Shoojit underplays his lead character to such an extent that at times his efforts feel underwhelming. He might not be a Bhagat Singh delivering fiery speeches, yet there is something amiss about Udham, especially in the first half as we are introduced to him. The pace and long-drawn scenes (there is one with Vicky walking endlessly through miles of icy fields) do very little to hold your attention.
Sardar Udham’s run-time does very little to keep you captivated. Especially for the OTT format, pace and run-time are factors that play a very important role in your overall experience.
Sardar Udham deserves a watch for Vicky’s efforts and Shoojit’s vision in creating a canvas that tells the story of one of India’s most underplayed revolutionary heroes.