Had the apple seen Son of Sardaar first, it would never have fallen on Newton’s head. Talking about the film is as predictably pointless as the film itself. The exaggerated action sequences and silly comedy may entertain some of the audience, but as a film-crazy nation, we surely deserve far better.
If the missing vowel in ‘Ajay Devgn’ has been puzzling you, you must know that his company’s name is Ajay Devgn Ffilms. Yes, the double-F in ‘ffilms’ is not a typo. Clearly, ffilm people seem to assume that India’s collective IQ dives far south during the festive season. While that may not be entirely false, I am sure that at least logic and the laws of physics are a tad bit more universal than the buffoonery that some of our big, festive releases subject us to. Mildly amusing at best and capable of inducing seizures at its worst, Son of Sardaar is the kind of film that will exhaust all synonyms of the word ‘silly’ and come out grinning, proud of its existence for reasons that the more discerning amongst us will find difficult to fathom.
The plot (I’m being mighty generous by using that word for this film) has something to do with a generations-old bloodthirsty family feud that has kept Jassi (our hero, Ajay Devgn) the last surviving member of the Randhawa clan, away from India for 25 years. He returns to stake claim on his ancestral land, blissfully unaware that while he may no longer hold grudges, his arrival has been long-awaited by the Sandhu clan, led by Balvinder Singh Sandhu aka Billu, played by Sanjay Dutt. You see, Billu walked out of his own wedding 25 years back, swearing to kill every last member of the Randhawas before he gets married. If the plot seems as old as the hills, the treatment is, expectedly, as juvenile as it can get.
I must confess that when I even begin to think of the sheer volume of braindead-ery this film contains, I feel like I’m being an obsessive-compulsive maniac, because clearly there is an audience out there for this kind of film. I refuse to believe, however, that exaggerated action and comedy must necessarily entail you to treat yourself like you don’t own a brain for two-and-a-half hours of your life.
Not surprisingly, stereotypical jokes about the intellect of the Sikhs abound in this film. In fact, the whole film is set in a village full of dunderheads, not all of whom are Sikh. I often wondered if the point of the film was to show that anyone living in Punjab uses his brain as sparingly as the people behind this film. For a film that has comedy as one of its two primary ‘pillars’, the jokes are mainly banal, lent credibility sporadically because the actors delivering the lines aren’t half bad. The film’s other supposed pillar is the action, which is also one of the weakest bits. Apart from the fact that they don’t seem to feel even slightly original and visionary, some of the execution is just tacky. CG-generated fake skies don’t help in any way.
If people find the film even slightly watchable, it is because of the actors. Ajay Devgn is goofy and endearing; Sanjay Dutt has a frightening yet charming air about him and Sonakshi Sinha, who seems to want to only do films that look like they’ll make it into that ridiculous ‘club’ of you-know-how-many crores, is actually passably pleasant in the bits that don’t require her to pretend like she is dancing with gay abandon. Mukul Dev, fresh out of cold storage, has a couple of silly lines that work quite well. The pick of the cast, though, is Juhi Chawla, who seems to be the only sensible character in the village-with-no-IQ.
This Diwali, Son of Sardaar is clearly the greater of two evils, though there is no doubt that the film is going to entertain the audience in smaller centers to the hilt. For people who liked Rowdy Rathore, Bodyguard and the likes, congratulations – chances are you’ll like this one too. For others, I think I have made the point amply clear.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
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