Sam Bahadur The article begins with a harsh critique of Bollywood’s historical struggle in creating impactful biopics. It argues that the genre often falls short due to a reluctance to explore the complexities and nuances of the personalities they portray.
“Sam Bahadur”: A Familiar Disappointment:
- Meghna Gulzar’s “Sam Bahadur,” a tribute to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, is added to the list of disappointments. The critique accuses the film of turning a legendary figure into a one-dimensional, hagiographic portrayal.
Common Pitfalls: Sam Bahadur
- The article identifies common pitfalls in Hindi biopics, where subjects are often presented as flawless embodiments of perfection, lacking depth and humanity. This approach, it claims, results in films that offer no new insights or knowledge to the audience.
Unexplored Facets of Manekshaw:
- The film’s failure is attributed to its flat writing, which, despite rich material about a colorful Parsi army general, fails to provide a compelling narrative. It highlights the lack of exploration into Manekshaw’s challenges, personal life, and complex dynamics with prominent figures like Indira Gandhi and Yahya Khan.
Linear Narrative and Lack of Emotion:
- The linear storytelling is criticized for lacking emotion and evoking a feeling akin to reading a high school textbook. The article questions the absence of exploration into Manekshaw’s fears, personal life, and the political challenges he faced.
Character Portrayals: A Broad Stroke:
- The critique argues that in the quest to portray Manekshaw as a larger-than-life hero, other characters, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Yahya Khan, receive superficial treatment, robbing them of complexity and depth.
Missed Opportunities in Relationships:
- The portrayal of Manekshaw’s relationship with Indira Gandhi is deemed disappointing, and the film misses opportunities to delve into intriguing dynamics. The article also points out the underwhelming portrayal of Yahya Khan and the unexplored aspects of his relationship with Manekshaw.
Merits and Demerits:
- Despite its flaws, the film is acknowledged for avoiding jingoism and presenting historical facts with nuance. The production design, cinematography, and attention to detail in depicting Parsi life are praised. Vicky Kaushal’s performance is a standout, showcasing his versatility.
Final Verdict: A Pretty Dish with the Wrong Balance:
- The article concludes by likening “Sam Bahadur” to an undercooked Dhansak when it should have been a flavorful Salli Boti. The film is criticized for being visually appealing but lacking the depth and balance needed to make it a compelling biopic.