Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Son of Sardaar

Don't Angry Me Too

With national festivals come cinema that's geared toward mass entertainment, and Son of Sardaar cannot be more true of that, being that light hearted romantic comedy combined with action reliant on special effects and plenty of looney tunes inspiration to bring about laughter for an audience looking to being entertained. Nothing more than that. Based upon a Telugu film Maryada Ramanna which itself is based on the 1923 American silent movie Our Hospitality starring Buster Keaton, Son of Sardaar didn't hit the mark for the most parts, being just a plain comedy that's largely forgettable.

Starring Ajay Devgn, who also has a number of other production credits, in the lead role as Jassi, the opening number shows that he's quite the light hearted joker, but packs quite a severe punch when threatened, either personally, or needed to defend his Punjabi heritage. A letter gets sent from India for him to reclaim his family land and inheritance, in which he intends to sell so that he can continue his lifestyle in London, only for his trip back to Hindustan to be filled with unexpected romance, and finding himself embroiled in an aged old family feud with the Sandhus.

It's almost Romeo and Juliet like where his love had sprung from his only hate. He meets Sukh (Sonakshi Sinha) on board a train, only to realize much later that her family still bears the grudge since their earlier generation had clashed. Now led by Billu (Sanjay Dutt), they are adamant to avenge their defeat by killing Jassi, only to have unwittingly invited Jassi to their ancestral home earlier, and having to uphold their end of their tradition of treating guests like god. So it's hospitality at its best when Jassi remains in their home, with comedy ensuing as they try their best to get him out of the house, with Jassi doing the opposite, cooking up excuses to stay within.

One will expect the usual song and dance numbers that pepper the film, especially when it boils down to the romance between Jassi and Sukh, which is made a tad complicated when the latter is already betrothed to another. While great pains have been put in to provide some characterization for at least the two of the leading characters, there was a feeling of unnecessary repetition especially amongst some of the jokes, such as a child who keeps on harping or associating everything with the need to celebrate with a peg. Yes, caricatures rule, but it does wear the jokes down especially if extended beyond welcome.

Directed by Ashwni Dhir, Son of Sardaar is something one would expect from a Hong Kong Mo-Lei-Tau comedy perfected by Stephen Chow, especially when it comes down to the inevitable, final climatic battle between Jassi and Billu, which played out like a WWE wrestling match, with both sides going all out to clobber each other in sequence that you know is so staged. Battles are cartoony and defying the laws of physics, and while I understand this is the comedy genre, overdoing something just makes it too artificial. Inconsistency arises from Jassi as well, since it has been established that he can fight, but chooses not to do so in the first place, requisite to stretch the story out.

Even the resolution at the end was rushed, with everything addressed at a drop of a hat, leading one to think that there's really no storyline here, with the filmmakers eager to end everything rather than to be further caught with their lack of ideas. The clear message here is to love thy neighbour, granted that this is not being told through any form of a solid narrative, preferring the shortest cut possible to elicit laughter in desperation. If this is the only offering for that battle of the Diwali box office, it's clearly not quite up to the mark offered by the other Yash Raj film.

Look out though for Salman Khan, who lends a hand to bookend the film, reprising his role as the unmentioned Bodyguard.


I said...

Totally agree with your review. This movie to me was absolute junk and I got a headache after watching the film. It is indeed a sorry-state for cinema lovers, when movies like this turn out to be box office "hits"! Extremely poor direction, where many scenes seemed stretched way beyond the patience of the viewer. Very poor screenplay indeed, and there was not a single scene that one remembers after the film is done. Its sad that an actor who once gave us performances like "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam"; "Rain Coat"; "Bhagat Singh" etc, has now relegated to this kind of junk in the name of "entertaining cinema"!

Stefan S said...

Hi I

I guess I'm not alone on this one. But seriously, to a non-Hindi speaking person, I am finding it quite difficult to try to get into the mood for comedies, finding that unless it's slapstick (usually poorly done), most of the jokes get lost in translation.

I said...

Hi Stefan,
I strongly believe that a good movie would appeal to any audience, regardless of language. Son of Sardar is far from it. In comedy, sometimes there are some dialogues/jokes that may be lost in translation, but overall the essence of the movie is still felt. Son of Sardar is utter rubbish with no story, poor screenplay and poor direction. The comedy was half-baked. Take for example the scene where the protagonist drops the bottle of pickle and is on the verge slipping on oil....the makers added CGI effects and that scene was meant to be funny. But, that scene not only dragged, but looked so dumb :( Overall, even the action sequences where just a barrage of CGI effects and after a point was getting on my nerves for the same repetitive feel.
The so called funny dialogues were sometimes rhyming, but not really that funny. Very few LOL moments. And Yes! most of the light so-called comedies in general, coming out of Bollywood or even sometimes Hollywood really fail to tickle the audience's funny bones.

Stefan S said...

Hi |

It's been a long time since I've wholeheartedly enjoyed a Bollywood comedy... do let me know if there is one coming up !

Ahmed Sheen said...

Been 15 years since I actually sat down to watch a bully wood film. I actually thought the film was very good, much more true to reality than most films over the last decade. The humour was grown up rather than pathetic immature slapstick. The cgi wasn't too great but at the same time kept the film and hero going. Best if all no nakedness, but nice dresses and a story with good morals. One of the better films rather than watching salman or shah - rukh acting like 10 year old who would have put me off....

Ahmed Sheen said...

I disagree with many of the comments. It's been 15 years since I have managed to go beyond 15 mins in a bully wood film. Good adult humour rather than the usual immature slapstick comedy. Also the clothes were nice rather than the norm of semi nakedness. This film was closer to the truth and admittedly the cgi wasn't fab but kept the film going. The morals were excellent songs good and everyone played their part. Good film.

Stefan S said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the film, Ahmed!

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