Some ideas sound brilliant as a one-liner, but when they are written down as a feature film’s script, they end up feeling like a piece of crap. That’s the case with Sardar Ka Grandson.
Director Kaashvie Nair and co-writer Anuja Chauhan’s Sardar Ka Grandson tries to evoke the Indo-Pak emotional partition sentiment with a moving cross-border family story. Sadly, it doesn’t even manage to evoke one per cent of that emotion from the audience. The writing is flaky and predominantly the soft spot of the entire film. The direction is amateurish with unnecessary scenes having been okayed for the final take.
Arjun Kapoor as a Punjabi is not the same funny Arjun Kapoor from Mubarakan. He displays a single expression throughout the film. Whether he is breaking up with his girlfriend, Rakul Preet Singh, or is being bitten by a dog, or jumping in front of a wrecking ball, or talking to the Pakistan high-commissioner — every emotion looks the same on Kapoor’s face. He tries to be funny and cute in most of the cases, but comes out as loud, belligerent and monotonous. Arjun’s track with Rakul is a waste of time and was totally unnecessary.
In fact, John Abraham, who is known for his single-emotion face, delivers better performance than Arjun in just five minutes of screen time. But, just because John does good action scenes doesn’t mean there was a need to show the star single-handedly beating up a group of Pakistani goons who were trying to burn down his house during the partition of 1947. Despite that unnecessary fight scene, John somehow manages to do justice to the look of a sardar.
Aditi Rao Hydari’s character, even though minuscule, is a breath of fresh air. She is probably the only one who understood the nuances of the character and came up with a layered portrayal of the young bride running for her life after partition. What didn’t make sense though was her cycling all the way from Lahore to the border and then to a city in Punjab, and that too with an infant tied to her chest all the while.
The filmmakers have wasted a goldmine of a talent like Neena Gupta. She has been given some of the worst stereotypical dialogues to make her sound like a cranky Punjabi dadi. Her makeup as a 90-year-old wasn’t upto the mark either. They should have taken some inspiration from Rishi Kapoor, who looked like a 90-year-old in Kapoor & Sons. In contrast, Neena Gupta’s bad makeup ruins her performance. There are some close-up shots of Neena Gupta in which one can notice, more than her forced dialogues, the terrible makeup. Actors like Kumud Mishra, Kanwaljit Singh, Soni Razdan and Divya Seth are totally wasted as well.
Sardar Ka Grandson is neither a good coming-of-age story, nor a moving family drama, nor a great cross-border story, and not a comedy at all. It’s a TORTURE to sit through the almost two hours and nineteen minutes. AVOID.
Title: Sardar Ka Grandson
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Neena Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Rakul Preet Singh, Kanwaljeet Singh, Soni Razdan, Divya Seth, Mir Mehroos, Aditi Rao Hydari, John Abraham
Director: Kaashvie Nair
Rating: Half star