Based on the Indian revolutionary, Udham Singh, Sardar Udham is a 2021 historical drama directed by Shoojit Sircar. The movie stars Vicky Kaushal as the titular character with Shaun Scott, Stephen Hogan, Amol Parashar in supporting roles. The film explores the journey of Udham Singh as he witnessed the aftermath of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar and his assassination of Michael O’Dwyer in London.
Streaming on Amazon Prime
Sardar Udham (2021) - Movie Review
Plot & Pacing
Shoojit Sircar’s biopic of the Punjab revolutionist is not told from a conventional lens. The film goes back on forth between the present when Udham Singh shot Michael O’Dwyer in 1940 and the past that showed his journey through different countries, people and events that led to this assassination. We see how fixated Udham Singh was to locate Michael O’Dwyer and all the trials and tribulations he had to overcome to achieve this. He navigated Russia and London like an undercover spy, silently observing his surroundings while slowly making his moves.
The pacing for the first hour and the half is on the slower side and felt discontinuous at times. Some of the scenes here even felt stretched to the point where it did not seem necessary. Udham Singh’s motivation was also not fully fleshed out until the last hour of the film, but boy, was that a wild ride final hour.
The last hour was the most unsettling part of the show. We saw how Udham Singh was force fed when he went on a hunger strike and perhaps the most unsettling of all, Shoojit Sircar spared no gore in depicting the horror of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Although the scene was difficult to watch, it was done in honesty of the actual event that made you feel the weight of Udham’s anger and his desire for revenge.
With all the goods and bads of the show, the one thing that is constant is Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal of the patriot. Without needing to say much, we could understand Udham’s wandering eyes through London, his anger when his employer justified the 1919 massacre and his grit when he carted survivors to hospitals. The Udham Singh which Vicky Kaushal depicted before and after the massacre were vastly different, yet is convincing enough to show that it was the same person who had went through an extraordinary circumstance. The supporting actors also played their part well and were effective in their British roles.
The length of the show could be substantially reduced, but its worth a watch for the story, the history and the performance.