Sam Bahadur Review: Vicky Kaushal’s Sharp Act Trumps Meghna Gulzar’s Screenplay

By admin Dec1,2023

Sam Bahadur follows the life of First Field Marshan Sam Manekshaw, an Army General Officer, renowned for his bravery. Directed by Meghna Gulzar, it showcases important moments of his life though in haphazard manner, we do get to meet all the important people he met, the moments in history he influenced and more. However, Sam Bahadur may not be a fun or an historical watch. Nor does it help the audience gain insight into Sam’s life nor does the writing do any favours for the film’s storytelling.

Vicky Kaushal takes the lead in the film in several ways. Not only as the face of the film and charm holding the story together but with his performance. It begins with very little background of Manekshaw’s childhood. His name was set to be Cyrus, but when a thief arrested in the area turns out to have the same name, his name is changed to Sam. As a youngster, he also did all the reckless fun things expected from anyone of the age. He once gets his friends into trouble by staying out too long and it also gets him stripped of his rank.

However, the story fails to show us the consequences of his mistake, or what came out of it. We are jumped in a few years ahead, without much information as he begins to lead his own platoon. The first half continues to show glimpses of his life and the people he met, without giving the audience a chance to get to know them or their relationship. The screenplay nor the editing of the first half does any favours to Manekshaw or Vicky Kaushal’s film.

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It is only in the second half we get to see the powerful, smart strategist Sam Manekshaw we all were promised. There is much difference between the pre and post independence era, we also get to see many personal moments from Manekshaw’s life with his family and his kids. However, some of the most fun moments are with Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh. Vicky does well with Manekshaw’s charm and is able to recreate it on screen with ease.

Meanwhile, the film does give some great moments to explore the life of time. The supporting departments of production, makeup and costumes should be much credited for their work and turning the film believable. The background source also helps push the film forward in second half. The film does lack a linear story and an essence at the end as a biopic. It may not be an easy subject to depict onscreen, but knowing about him is an honour in itself. But we do believe the film deserved more.

With a runtime of 150 minutes, the makers had some time to divulge into a few dramatic moments to bring the story to a full circle. With the filmmaker Meghna Gulzar’s history with biopics and historic storytelling, much more was expected from Sam Bahadur. The film has many celebratory moments with or without Vicky Kaushal. Some do a great job at exploring the partition in India and other is showing the pride of the Indian military, but most of them come in the second half of the film, making it a worthy watch.

Overall, Sam Bahadur is a fun watch, but it isn’t here to share insight into its subject. For someone who isn’t a history buff may feel lost, while others looking for action may be disappointed with the amount of politics involved.

However, the film offers a great good look at the reality of the time and sets that in with real footage of war, pre and post independence.

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Cover artwork by Patrick Gawande/Mashable India

By admin

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