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Sardar Ka Grandson Review: Poor direction, insincere writing and disappoint­ing acting

Watch ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ instead of this debacle

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A few minutes into the movie, Soni Razdan, who plays Arjun Kapoor’s mother, applies a bit of pain relief ointment on her temples and forehead as she struggles to connect dots of what’s happening inside her home.

This scene pretty much sums up what you’re going to go through while watching this movie. Surviving the first 40 minutes of Sardar Ka Grandson deserves dinner for two and a free head massage.the film is primarily about Neena Gupta (fondly called Sardar by her family) whose last wish is to see her old home in Lahore, but she lives in Amritsar and has a terrible history of assaulting a Pakistani minister during a cricket match at a stadium, only to be blocked from entering Pakistan for the rest of her life. Her grandson (Arjun Kapoor) wants to fulfil this wish by bringing her Lahore home to Amritsar on wheels with the help of hydraulic machines.

This plot reminds us of two excellent films: firstly, Kapoor and Sons, where Rishi Kapoor’s last wish before dying is to get a good family photo; second: the master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ where the castle/house moves on land and flies in the air. Make no mistake, Sardar Ka Grandson is not even 1 per cent of what these two films are.

Neena Gupta’s prosthetic make-up is discomfort­ing, and also the fact that a 60 something actor plays a 75-80+ grandmothe­r, is again a reason why Bollywood will never do justice to its women.

Actors Kanwaljeet Singh, Soni Razdan, Divya Seth and Kumud Mishra deliver like always, in their little screen time, but they possibly can’t save a sinking ship when the lead actors desperatel­y need a year off for acting workshops. The film also stereotype­s ethnic minority communitie­s and their culture, especially in the selection of costumes, appearance and dialect. The film poorly portrays the valiance of Sikh women during the partition of India and Pakistan.

The writing is sloppy, to say the least, and literally, nothing makes sense while the director fails to establish in the initial watch time as to why one must stick around for 2 hrs and 30 plus minutes.

The movie is directed by newbie Kaashvie Nair who only manages to loosely hold the movie together in the last 40 minutes. Arjun Kapoor is a complete misfit in so many frames where even a young supporting actor like Mir Mehroos manages to steal the show in his small role. Rakul Preet Singh saves a moment or two but the lead actors do not compliment each other and their love story is a colossal waste of screen time.

While the movie in a nutshell crumbles down due to poor direction, insincere writing and disappoint­ing acting, it does have its heart in the right place. The grandmothe­r’s back and forth flashback about her time spent with her husband (played by John Abraham and younger Sardar by Aditi Rao Hydari) are feeble attempts to bring cinematic value to the film.

But everything is a big puzzle that doesn’t come together. There’s a moment in the climax when the lead actors find time to attend a wedding in Pakistan while Sardar is on her deathbed - literally on a ventilator, while they attempt to move her old house to India on wheels.

Most films released in the last 3 months on OTT are testament to shoddy editing, poor scripting and lack of adaptation for streaming audiences.

Sardar Ka Grandson is a rude reminder that filmmakers seem to be disillusio­ned that the audience is going to sit through and not hop on to another movie because the makers don’t understand the concept and importance of watch time on digital platforms. Ironically, the co-producers of this film, T-series head-honchos run the largest Youtube channel in the business with perhaps the best watch time and gigantic views.

In a nutshell, for once, you’re better off not wasting your time.

“If you survive through the first 40 mins of Sardar Ka Grandson then you need an award”

Director : Kaashvie Nair

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, Neena Gupta, John Abraham, Aditi Rao Hydari

Now streaming on Netflix

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