?Sam Bahadur Movie Review: Vicky Kaushal, Meghna Gulzar's Film Picks Up Where The Actors Lack Depth?
About Sam Bahadur
Apart from Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Govind Namdeo, who have arresting cameos as Yahya Khan and Sardar Patel, respectively, in Meghna Gulzar's Sam Bahadur, none of the actors seem qualified for playing the historic roles that are chosen for in this historic recreation of an era and an aura that Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw encapsulated. No, not Vicky Kaushal either.
Manekshaw was more an idea, an embodiment of nationalism, valour and resilience, than a person. His larger-than-lifeness is impossible to pin down. He believed — and he says so in the film — that war is not an occasion for our soldiers to give up their lives but a reason for our enemy soldiers to die.
The man was so charismatic he could get away with addressing Mrs Indira Gandhi (and everyone he liked, male or female) as ‘Sweetie’.
He was that kind of rare human being so chilled out that no one minded his cockiness.
I am afraid Vicky Kaushal, a reasonably talented actor, is not equal to the task. He tries hard to echo the original's three Bs —bravery, benevolence and bravado. But mimicking the original doesn’t quite amount to a comprehensive character creation. Kaushal conveys a measured charm, but Manekshaw, he ain’t. Sorry. Better when starting from scratch as he did in Udham Singh (directed by Shoojit Sircar)
Sanya Malhotra as the Field Marshal’s beloved wife Silloo looks as Parsi as Farah Khan in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. The performance is lacklustre, to say the least. But then she can’t be blamed. Like all soldiers' wives, she grumbles about her absentee husband and smirks when the phone rings, ‘Wahi hogi’. Wahi, being Mrs Gandhi.
Worse still is Fatima Sana Shaikh’s Indira Gandhi. With her squeaky voice and diminutive presence, she cuts a sorry figure. What works rather well is the synergy between Manekshaw and Mrs G. There is an understated chemistry between the two which Meghna Gulzar is able to bring to the screen in spite of the two actors playing the two imposing personalities being anything but imposing.
The war scenes, so crucial to the efficacy of a film about a super-soldier, display a deficiency of budget. There are just so many foot soldiers and tanks that this biopic can afford, and the bombs go off to trigger a jolting effect in the audience perhaps to distract us from the lack of epicness in the battle scenes.
That said, Meghna Gulzar shoots the mayhem at the border with a tinge of anger and regret. Her cameraman Jai I Patel has an eye for the human angle in the most obvious political conflict.
Watch how Meghna Gulzar shoots those rare character-defining moments in Manekshaw’s personal interactions with Gorkha soldiers or that wonderful rapport he shares with his grumbling bullying South Indian cook. In such intimate moments, Vicky Kaushal captures the humanism of a man who valued the sovereignty of our country but also loved his time off.
Not quite the film he deserved, but will do, Sweetie.
End of Article