Sardar Udham

Sardar Udham

History reveals that on March 13, 1940, Sardar Udham Singh shot and killed Michael O'Dwyer (Shaun Scott), a former lieutenant governor of the Punjab state (Vicky Kaushal). On April 13, 1919, O'Dwyer issued General Dyer the orders so that they would leave a lasting impression on the revolutionaries. 

At the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, some 10,000 people were peacefully gathered when Dyer opened fire, leaving hundreds injured and dead. Udham Singh is present when the horror occurs and swears to exact revenge. But as the movie makes clear, it wasn't just a straightforward murder.

With his previous opportunities, Udham had no trouble killing O'Dwyer. He picked Caxton Hall because O'Dwyer was giving a speech there about how the British presence had helped the "Indian savages," and because it was a public location. An act of resistance to British imperialism, the assassination was.

While Udham is a few years older than Bhagat Singh (Amol Parashar), the flamboyant revolutionary still inspires him. In the movie, he is shown as joining Bhagat Singh's Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) and obtaining weapons and ammunition for them.

After Bhagat Singh's passing in 1931, he relocates abroad and serves as a type of one-man agent for Indian freedom fighters, arranging for money and weapons from distant countries including America, Russia, Spain, and Germany. He has multiple passports and names, works as a film extra, lingerie salesperson, welder, stationery merchant, and generally eludes the British secret police for a while before getting his comeuppance. 

He is revealed to be friendly with Englishwoman Eileen (Kirsty Averton), who was connected to the Irish Republican Army (IRA). In London, Udham encounters IRA officials and persuades them that his struggle and theirs are one in the same. Shoojit Sircar, the director, has meticulously recreated each of these elements.

This historical figure's biography is not well known. We are able to better understand this covert revolutionary thanks to Sircar. When a Scotland Yard officer (Stephen Hogan) questions him about Bhagat Singh, he asks him in one scene, "What were you doing when you were 23?" Another time, he claims that our scriptures teach us that a man's youth establishes the groundwork for his life. He enquires, "Meri Jawani ka koi matlab bana."

 He makes a speech on freedom and free speech while intoxicated in what is ostensibly Hyde Park, which reveals his worldview about what a revolutionary really is: a man fighting for everyone's rights and seeking equality for all citizens regardless of their religion or country of origin.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is meticulously recreated by Sircar for over 45 minutes in the second half of the movie. It's challenging to see, but it's necessary to do so to comprehend why Udham Singh kept the flame of vengeance stoking for 20 years.

 Udham is seen providing care for the survivors, giving them water, and transporting them to the hospital in a thela. He keeps doing this until he collapses from tiredness. You experience goosebumps as he asks, "Koi zinda hai." The most moving filmic accomplishment of Sircar is this. He shows no mercy, leaving the audience feeling as helpless and numb as Udham. After this, no further words are required.

Your dreams will be plagued by the pictures for days to come.

World-class work was put into the visual direction, cinematography, and sound design. It seems as though Sircar has somehow taken us back in time. The film benefits from the non-linear storytelling as well. Nearly three hours pass by without once making you feel bored.

 Any amount of technological skill is meaningless if the actors aren't doing their jobs. Vicky Kaushal, who has given his all to the role of Udham Singh, is the foundation of the movie. He had his best performance to yet. He displays all the nuances of the persona he plays, baring all, and making us understand every facet of Udham Singh.

Whether it be his fervour for revolution, his love and respect for Bhagat Singh, the pain brought on by the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, or the isolation of his covert mission.

And all of this is accomplished by subtly altering one's expression and body language. He never speaks aloud in the movie, allowing his eyes and his silences reveal the character's innermost thoughts.

The quality of these biopics is uncommon. Maybe Shoojit Sircar should introduce Bhagat Singh to us after Udham Singh. We hope the film's creators will soon give it some thinking because this movie deserves to be shown in theatres.

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