Director: Meghna Gulzar
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Neeraj Kabi, Govind Namdeo
Where: Running in cinemas
Rating: 3 stars
Sam Bahadur pays homage to Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw MC, drawing inspiration from his life and incorporating insights from family discussions, interviews, and public accounts. Vicky Kaushal takes on the titular role, portraying the intriguing narrative that begins with Sam's birth and explores his unwavering commitment to serving his country. A distinguished officer, Manekshaw consistently made wise decisions during various conflicts, always driven by the desire to emerge victorious.
The storyline delves into significant moments, such as his pivotal decision to follow the Prime Minister's orders to liberate Bangladesh from the grip of the Pakistani government, showcasing his reliance on instinct. The film meticulously captures the essence of this iconic Field Marshal's biography, particularly highlighting Kaushal's compelling depiction of Manekshaw's interactions with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The narrative unfolds the amusing dynamic between Manekshaw and his wife Siloo, played ny Sanya Malhotra, expressing irritation when the Prime Minister summoned him for crucial strategy meetings in response to prevailing situations.
The film underscores India's vital role in liberating Bangladesh from the clutches of the Pakistani government, with a focus on Manekshaw's witty and characteristic anecdotes that contributed to his legendary persona.
Meghna Gulzar must enhance her storytelling skills in the war narrative genre, as there's a certain element missing in this political-socio-drama. To be candid, the ability to evoke patriotic sentiments appears to be lacking. While glimpses of such feelings can be sensed, particularly in the last song, the overall impact falls short. Presenting a biopic is undoubtedly challenging, but Meghna has truly excelled in authentically portraying the life of Manekshaw. In her role as a director, she has skillfully drawn out the best performances from each actor.
Skillfully crafted and amusing dialogues delivered with precision provided moments of comic relief. For military personnel, watching Sam Bahadur, especially those familiar with him, the word "Sweetie" would evoke nostalgic memories. The dialogues effectively captured the essence of the army background, resonating well with the audience. However, there is room for improvement in the pacing of the editing, particularly during the war sequences. A faster pace in these moments could instill a thunderous patriotic atmosphere, captivating the audience and keeping them on the edge of their seats with bated breath. A tighter screenplay has the potential to elevate the standards of this biopic.
The Army locations and the Army club were situated fittingly, staying true to the authenticity of real military settings. However, the depiction of war locations and the process of warfare fell short of creating a captivating impact. Additionally, the cinematography didn't contribute significantly, lacking noteworthy elements.
Vicky has excelled in portraying the resolute character of Sam Bahadur with flying colors. His depiction truly captures the essence of this compelling war hero, showcasing love and patriotism for his country through both his actions and words. However, in certain scenes, his delivery resonates strongly with Dev Anand, a notable aspect that adds an interesting layer to the portrayal. Vicky masterfully brings out Sam's witty side on screen, leaving an indelible impression with his exuberant performance.
Fatima Sana Shaikh, portraying the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, approaches the character with utmost sincerity. Her accurate adaptation of Indira ji's mannerisms ensures a convincing portrayal, and her interactions with Vicky are memorable, etching lasting impressions in the audience's minds. Fatima flawlessly embodies the character.
On the other hand, Sanya Malhotra appears somewhat expressionless this time, delivering her dialogues with a flat tone. Kalki Koechelin's guest appearance in a single scene seems like a missed opportunity, as the character doesn't significantly contribute to the narrative and could have been portrayed by an unfamiliar face. Nevertheless, the remaining cast members play their roles competently to the best of their abilities.
In conclusion, Sam Bahadur offers a glimpse into the real life of Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, based on his life, conversations with family, friends, interviews, and public accounts. While Vicky steals the show with his vibrant portrayal, the film provides a comprehensive exploration of the iconic military figure.