Movie Review: Sarbjit

Sarbjit: An Inspiring Story, But Falls short to Impress

It is raining biopic this month first it was “Azhar” and now “Sarbjit”. “Azhar” failed to impress the critics and audience alike, will “Sarbjit” be successful in winning the hearts is the big question…

“Sarbjit” tells the heart wrenching story of Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and her struggle to get her brother Sarabjit Singh (Randeep Hooda) back to India, who by mistake crosses the LOC and is arrested by Pakistani soldiers and is falsely convicted for terrorist activities in Pakistan. The movie chronicles Dalbir’s fight of 23 years to get her brother justice.Sarbjit Movie Review

Written by Uttkarshini Vashishtha and Rajesh Beri, the screenplay tries to capture the sorrow and pain that Dalbir and her family went through for 23 years to get Sarabjit back to India, but fails to be realistic in the bargain the so called sorrows and pains look forced and plastic. Another problem with the writing is the flow which is not very smooth it just jumps from one year to another not specifically capturing the real struggle which Dalbir Kaur went through, it just puts the incidents in a chronological order as far as the happenings are concerned. The writing is hell bent on only getting the emotional quotient right whereas in a biopic or for a real life incident it is essential to capture the facts correct, but unfortunately the writing just does not do so. It is clear the script lacks research and is written from a single point of view. But there are few sequences which do touch your heart, like when Sarabjit’s family visits him in the Pakistan or all the moments of Dalbir and Sarabjit does make your eyes misty. Other than a few sequences the overall writing is very average and “Sarbjit” misses the mark due to this. The dialogues written by Uttkarshini Vashishtha are apt but fail to uplift the scenes other than a few….

“Sarbjit” boasts of some earnest performances, starting with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who plays the central character of Dalbir Kaur with earnestness, but as an audience you will not connect with her, first her Punjabi dialect sounds forced and second you feel it is Aishwarya all the way and Dalbir gets lost in the persona called Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. I would say the casting goes completely wrong, frankly speaking missed Vidya Balan, I think she should have been the best suited for this role. Randeep Hooda who plays Sarabjit steals the show and how, every scene he is perfect, from a mischievous youngster to a convict to a frail old man especially in the jail sequences, your heart just goes out to him. In every scene he gives 100% and it shows thanks to the transformation he has gone through for the role, it won’t be a too much if I say it is Randeep Hooda’s show all the way. Richa Chadha who plays Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet does not have much to do but where ever she gets a chance she shines and makes her presence felt, she shows a few scenes are enough to make your presence felt for a good actor Darshan Kumaar as lawyer Awais Sheikh from Pakistan has a brief role but he impresses in his few scenes. Rest of the cast also do a good job…

Omung Kumar in his second biopic seems more in control but the script just fails him. He does get the emotional quotient correct which was somehow missing in his first “Mary Kom” but fails to impress overall. The biggest mistake was casting Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Dalbir Kaur, her star presence just steals the real essence of the story, and it just does not work. Another issue is lack of research which blatantly shows as it lacks realism, I think Omung Kumar should have done some more research on the subject which is needed in a biopic or real life incident. Overall Omung Kumar should take a break from biopic and try to get the finesse in his direction…

Music does not play much importance in the movie but it fails to impress as well. Though there are a list of composers like Jeet Ganguli, Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi, Shashi-Shivam and Shail-Pritesh but the songs just do not touch your heart, a simple case of too many cooks spoil the broth…

Cinematography by Kiran Deohans is good and captures the nuances well from the Paddy fields of Punjab to Govt Offices of Delhi to the grim of a jail.

Production design by Vanita Omung Kumar is impressive and gets the details correct right from the Punjab village house to the jail, all are well designed…well Omung Kumar could not have got this wrong…knowing his past experience with set design…

Costume Design by Shahid Amir & Neetu Singh helps to build the characters well with their eye for details from the Phulkari to the Prison clothes all are done well…

“Sarbjit” could have been an inspiring story but it falls short….I will go with 3 stars…one extra star for the brilliant performance of Randeep Hooda and the story of inspiring story of Dalbir Kaur & Sarabjit Singh…..

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review : Mary Kom

Mary Kom: An Inspiring story with a Sincere Effort

Many times when you watch a movie especially a biopic which has an inspiring story you may overlook the flaws and technicalities, such was my experience with “Mary Kom”.

Debutant Director Omung Kumar brings life the story of Boxing Champion “Mary Kom”. The story & screenplay of Saiwyn Qadras charts the Mary Kom Reviewjourney of a daughter of a simple farmer Mangte Chungneijang from Manipur to becoming the 5 times World Champion MC Mary Kom or Magnificent Mary as she is called.

Saiwyn’s screenplay is shaky in the beginning but concludes on a high note. The first half looks more like a collage of incidents in Mary Kom’s life put on celluloid with no cohesiveness in the narration and everything is shown in a hurry which does not have any emotional connect, but in the second half the movie takes a 360 degree turn in the narration and shows us Mary Kom’s comeback after becoming a mother. The second half the narration shows a lot of depth and emotions which are depicted well concluding the movie to a high octane dramatic end. Though a lot of people will find the climax a bit dramatic but the bottom-line is at the end it strikes the right cord and you come out being proud of Mary Kom and her achievements. The other flaw in the script is that it does not delve deep in the other character’s storyline.

The dialogues by Ramendra Vashishtha and Karan Singh Rathore is good but quite inconsistent in the getting the language and the dialect right. Though the dialogues has a few Manipuri words being used but sometimes the dialect and language of the principal cast look a bit out of place especially Mary Kom’s character.

Omung Kumar’s direction is sincere and honest and it comes through in the narration especially in the second half. The one flaw in Omung’s direction is his hurried narration; he should have paid more heed to the characterization of other principal characters other than Mary Kom’s. Though being Omung’s first film as a director and choosing a biopic as a subject really needs a lot of conviction, and he shows the spark as a director.

Performance wise it is definitely Priyanka Chopra all the way. She is sincere in her portrayal as a boxer Mary Kom, her whole transformation from a glam doll to a boxer physically right from the body language to the way she talks is to be seen to believe. Frankly I had my reservations about Priyanka portraying the role but she has really surprised me with her portrayal. Another stand out performance is of Darshan Kumaar who plays Onler Kom, Mary’s husband the real pillar of strength in the boxer’s life. Darshan ‘s underplaying the portrayal gives the needed depth required, an actor to watch out for. Sunil Thapa as Mary’s coach does a good job.

I have to mention the makeup artist Subhash Shinde who really did a marvelous job of Priyanka’s transformation to Mary Kom, minute details like skin pigmentation etc has been taken care of. The production design by Omung’s wife Vanita Omung Kumar is realistic and convincing. Stunts by Parvez Shaikh and boxing choreography by Robert Miller bring the required authenticity and thrills in the boxing sequences.

Although it is not a “Million Dollar Baby”, but it is definitely an applauding attempt which is worth a watch, I will go with Three and a Half Stars…..

Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)