Sardar Udham Review: Vicky Kaushal, Shoojit Sircar stir up horrors of Jallianwala Bagh massacre masterfully

Sardar Udham is clearly one of the most intricate things we have seen Vicky Kaushal do on the screen. Director Shoojit Sircar justifies the aftershocks of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that can still be felt in the streets of Amritsar.

Vaishali Jain Vaishali Jain
Updated on: October 16, 2021 9:50 IST
Still of Vicky Kaushal from Sardar Udham

Still of Vicky Kaushal from Sardar Udham

Photo:AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
  • Movie Name:Sardar Udham
  • Critics Rating: 3 / 5
  • Release Date: Oct 16, 2021
  • Director: Shoojit Sircar
  • Genre: Biographical crime thriller

Shoojit Sircar's Sardar Udham starring Vicky Kaushal is a long one – perhaps intended to proffer the revolutionary his adequate due. Packed with moments of nostalgia, horrific terrors of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the eerie sense of rebel, the makers take a free reign to bring the freedom fighter's story alive. This is indeed one of Sircar's most ambitious projects and it is reflected not only in the production but also in the research that went behind while making the film. Apparently, the maker had lived with the story for 20 years before he could bring it to the screens.

The film, Sardar Udham, is a story of Sardar Udham Singh, a gallant and patriotic man who fought selflessly and courageously against the British subjugation of India. The film focuses on the undeterred mission of Sardar Udham to avenge the lives of his beloved brethren who were brutally killed in the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919. 

Right from the inception, the focus seems to be on giving the titular character the sendoff it deserves. While Shaheed Bhagat Singh's name is a remarkable memory, Sardar Udham's story is a tale limited to the provinces of Punjab and the makers want the audience to know him better. Sans chest-thumping one-liners and on-the-face jingoism, the scenes of him assassinating General Dyer, trial by the British forces and him going on hunger strike are well crafted. The background score amplifies the plot making things appear more believable. The costume designers too deserve a shoutout for recreating the era's sartorial sense.

India Tv - Still from Sardar Udham

Image Source : AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Still from Sardar Udham

Shoojit Sircar and Vicky Kaushal bring back the horrors of the monstrous massacre in the most traumatising way. Once you see a teen Udham Singh marching to the Jallianwala Bagh with hundreds of others, you comprehend what's about to happen. It is then that Udham's story hits you hard. Vicky as the helpless young boy in midst of mounting corpses is presented masterfully. Him carrying the dead and injured on carts without an ounce of hope or realisation of what has just happened is heartbreaking. The actor is phenomenal in the sequence and it is clearly one of the most intricate things we have seen him do on the screen. The makers justify the aftershocks of the massacre that can still be felt in the streets of Amritsar. Bonus points for that.  

India Tv - Still from Sardar Udham

Image Source : AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Still from Sardar Udham

But, yes, there's a but. The big buildup to this master sequence feels tiresome. That is why it is a pity that Sardar Udham takes the long-drawn road to reach its goal. You need to be patient with this film which has a runtime close to three hours. It is not one of those movies where you play it and get engrossed in your smartphones. It needs attention and preparation to see what comes at the end.  One would want to be invested in the story but the long walks that Vicky Kaushal takes covering miles make you want to snooze a little in the first half. The slow-paced and self-indulgent opening subsides the strong performances that follow. 

Sardar Udham is at best gratifying, levitated by the offerings of its cast and the finesse of its production. It brings the story arc of the revolutionary responsibly and with care but it takes too much time to reach there. Be patient watch the film and celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of the revolutionary. It is not the hardest thing that you have to do in your day.

Sardar Udham is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.