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Josh is High-"SWEETIE"!!!
Dec 04, 2023 07:23 PM 1096 Views





The armed forces have always fascinated the common man and filmmakers across the world. In India also a number of remarkable films have been made on army/war but no biopic as such has been made keeping a legendary armed force man, and so Meghna Gulzar takes the plunge on arguably the biggest name of Indian armed force post-independence- the great Sam ManekShaw!

The film is a tribute to the great man(played effortlessly by Vikki Kaushal)and shows various chapters of his life from pre-independence till his retirement.The film covers various chapters in the form of several wars - World War 2, India Pakistan 1947 war, Indo Sino 1962 saga, North East India army- separatist conflict, India Pakistan 1971 war and creation of Bangladesh. The film also showcases various modern history and important political incidents of India.

In this process Meghana Gulzar and her team also shows real characters Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Lord Mountbatten, Indira Gandhi, VK Menon, Yashwant Chavan, US diplomat Henry Kissinger(who passed away last week) and Pakistani generals Yayaha Khan, Tikka Khan and more. Meghana Gulzar has made remarkable films like Talwar and Raazi in past and SamBahadur is her grandest film, produced very well by Ronnie Screwala.She handles the life of Manekshaw ably and captures all important armed and political incidents related to him in episodic form.

The research of the team is impeccable and even many dialogues are straight from what Sam said at couple of places. Though the film takes cinematic liberties yet stays true to the lead man's life.The screenplay is good but what many fans found missing was a solid emotional punch at many important instances. They have used real life archive footages to give the film an authentic touch. However, as some critics have rightly pointed out rightly, due to various wars shown, the movie looks more of a war-political history docudrama of modern India like ABP political series PradhanMantri and Aaj Tak war series Vande Mataram.So a major chunk of audience who are unaware of the events will find it kinda jumping from one event to other without pausing much on each.

Also the personal life of Sam is not covered much except his conversations with his wife and his domestic help. Having said that, there is no doubt that Meghna and Vikki with their team have brought alive the legend for the rightly deserving big screen and surely audience who like war, army, politics, modern history will definitely like it. This is where I feel Meghana succeeds in SamBahadur, where Shyam Benegal had failed in the grand but disappointing Bose.The cinematography, action and production values are first rate.Music and lyrics by Daddy Gulzar are apt for the few songs.

Of the cast both Dangal girls get major footage after the title character. Though Sanya Malhotra as Mrs Manekshaw is fine but Fatima Sheikh looks misfit as Indira Gandhi.Meghana's Talwar fame Neeraj Kabi, after playing Gandhi in Shyam Benegal's tv series Samvidhaan is good as Pandit Nehru. However Zeeshan Ayub with really bad make up and over prosthetics look fully forced and ineffective as Yayaha Khan. The film however fully belongs to Vikki Kaushal who as Sam Bahadur himself gives an excellent performance. Vikki already played armed officer successfully in Meghana's Raazi and in Aditya Dhar's Uri.Here, the Udham Singh fame Vikki, has taken care of mannerisms of the real life Manekshaw, added a bit of style of moustached army Dev Anand in Hum Dono, yet given a performance which is his own.It makes up for all the minor flaws of this heavily mounted film.And "Sweetie" he is the main reason why "Josh is high sir".

The release clash decision of SamBahadur with the hugely popular Animal by the makers seems wrong placed and will definitely effect its box office prospects, just as YRF released Tiger 3 on Diwali day instead of 2 days earlier killing a major chunk of extended Diwali business.

However, all in all SamBahadur is a good film with great lead performance and celebrating the life of an Indian legend, and even with few flaws will find its own audience!

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Sam Bahadur