Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Sam Bahadur’ left viewers with a mix of laughter, tears and inspiration. The film is a riveting account of Sam Manekshaw’s life and character. Vicky Kaushal is terrific as Sam Manekshaw. He makes the role his own without resorting to caricature. Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra are effective too.
The movie chronicles the life of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who led the Indian Army to victory during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. It stars Vicky Kaushal in the titular role, along with Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh. The movie has received a positive response from critics, and has grossed over Rs 5.50 crore on the opening day. It faced stiff competition from Ranbir Kapoor’s URI in theatres, and it is expected to perform averagely at the box office this week.
The film begins with a blend of humour and patriotic sentiments. The script by Bhavani Iyer and Shantanu Srivastava captures the spirit of the times through a series of incidents and anecdotes. But it fails to elevate the narrative, which is its major drawback.
Nevertheless, the movie is a showcase of Vicky’s immense talent. He not only embodies the persona of Sam Manekshaw but also encapsulates his can-do spirit. From his walk to his mannerisms, the actor nails every detail. His teasing one-liners, meanwhile, evoke laughter from the audience. The actor proves to be the perfect choice for the role, and he is supported by his co-stars. The director, Meghna Gulzar, has also adapted the style of Manekshaw to suit her sensibilities and craft. She has adroitly struck a balance between ambition and restraint, which makes Sam Bahadur an absorbing watch.
With Sam Bahadur, Meghna Gulzar proves she is an adept storyteller who can handle a complex subject matter with ease. She also manages to give the audience a glimpse into one of the most significant periods in India’s history through the lens of its revered military leader.
The film revolves around the life of Sam Hormusji Framji Manekshaw, who rose to the rank of Field Marshal after leading India in a series of successful military operations. Despite the fact that it is the story of an army officer, the look movie film succeeds in capturing the human and personal side of the general’s life through the depiction of his relationship with his wife Silloo and other family members.
Vicky Kaushal is nothing short of amazing in the film, eyes twinkling and moustache bristling. His portrayal of Sam Manekshaw is not only lauded on social media, but it is also regarded as a milestone in his career. He straddles the line between caricature and authenticity with ease, making it difficult to tell which is which.
Sanya Malhotra is good as Silloo, the woman who stood by Sam during difficult times. Fatima Sana Shaikh and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub do a decent job in their roles as well. While the film falls short of achieving some of its grander ambitions, it is still a solid piece of work that deserves to be seen.
The movie has garnered massive online buzz with netizens praising Vicky Kaushal’s brilliant performance. The film touches upon universal themes of patriotism, leadership and sacrifice. It is expected to connect deeply with audiences. The director, Meghna Gulzar is known to inject depth and authenticity into her films. The talented ensemble cast, including Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra is expected to add weight to the storytelling.
Sam Bahadur is a spirited biopic that captures the essence of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw with grace. The film is a showcase of an incredible military man, his grit, gallantry, joie de vivre and his power of repartee. Meghna Gulzar’s restrained direction and Vicky’s effervescent performance makes it a worthy watch.
However, it is the film’s narrative that lets it down. The story crammed too much into its two-and-a-half hours. It covers four decades of active military service, five wars, insurgency operations and brushes with the Prime Ministers. Despite the promise of hero elevation, the film falls short in terms of its narrative ambitions. Moreover, the film lacks the fulcrum that gave Raazi its sentimental allure. There are also instances of blatant hagiography.
A spirited and powerful performance by Vicky Kaushal in Sam Bahadur cannot overcome a story that struggles to find a rhythm of its own. The film is an attempt to encapsulate the chequered career of India’s first field marshal but fails to make it compelling enough to be a hero elevating experience.
Bhavani Iyer, Shantanu Srivastava and Meghna Gulzar’s script picks up a lot of crucial events from Manekshaw’s life — his time at the pre-partition Defence Academy in Lahore, his friendship with General Yahya Khan and his transfer to different places. It also covers his decision to stay back in India after partition, the charges of anti-nationalism and his eventual rise as the Army chief.
Sanya Malhotra as his winsome wife Silloo Bode adds a much-needed emotional anchor to the family and Fatima Shaikh acquits herself well as Indira Gandhi. However, the screenplay often feels like a bookish history lesson with scenes that linger for far too long and jump cuts which are jarring to the flow of the movie.
But it’s the effortless ease with which Kaushal carries the entire film on his shoulders that makes him stand out and he proves to be one of the most talented actors in the business today. Despite the film’s shortcomings, his presence is so strong that it becomes difficult to turn your attention away from the screen.