Film: Chaar Sahibzaade: The Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur
Cast (voices) : Om Puri , Harman Baweja
Director: Harry Baweja
After detailing the sacrifices of the four sons- Baba Ajit Singh ji, Baba Jujhar Singh ji, Baba Zorawar Singh ji and Baba Fateh Singh ji, of Guru Gobind Singh ji (tenth guru of Sikhs), Harry Baweja and team embark on a sequel that while sequestered largely to the first issue, moves a step further, to chronicle the exploits of Banda Singh Bahadur, the ascetic turned Sikh warrior .
Banda Singh Bahadur a.k.a Lachman Dev, formerly known as Madho Das left his home at age 15 to become an ascetic. Later , in the early 1700’s after encountering Guru Gobind Singh at his monastery in Nanded, on the banks of the Godavari, he embarked on a new journey, this time to fight against oppression and religious dogmatism.
The story in fact is told in flashback beginning with Banda Singh’s capture by the Mughals who eventually tortured him to death and the going back in time to entail his heroic efforts in vanquishing the dreaded Wazir Khan of Samana.
This is basically a continuing documentation of Sikh history in Animation form. While ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ had story-telling smarts and was strong on animation craft, this one while employing the same technique , falls way short of interesting. The story voiced by Om Puri, goes back and forth in the past to enhance the mythic ascendance of the Sikh uprising while detailing their mystic bonding with Guru Govind Singh’s teachings.
As in the first, the Guru is merely represented and doesn’t speak while the rest of the characters do his bidding. The animation technique here is appreciable. The characters are quite distinctive even when there are so many and the possibilities for confusion being vast.
The film in fact picks up pace in the second half when the battle of Sirhind begins – unfortunately it all ends quite tediously when towards the end credits, Om Puri’s voiceover drones on for a good 10 minutes, trying to keep us abreast of all the details pertaining to Sikh history. This is text book stuff and is most likely to put the non-pious viewer to sleep!