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You don't take a film like Son of Sardaar seriously and/ or look for a story in it. It's all about entertainment. But you at least look for a film that works within the confines of commercial filmmaking. You need masala, some laughs, a love story and a few good songs. Son of Sardaar begins to offer these but after a point, it has no idea what to do with them. Mostly, the film infuriates and makes mindless commercial potboilers look bad.
Son of Sardaar is inspired by Our Hospitality (1923) which has one of the greatest stunts performed by any actor in the history of cinema. It is well known that the plot of Our Hospitality is not one of its strengths. The gags are ridiculously funny and Buster Keaton's charm makes the film tick. Why anybody would remake that story and not use any of its physical humor is beyond me. Although if this film is a remake, it seems more of a remake of the Telugu film, Maryada Ramanna by S.S. Rajamouli who made the masala film extraordinaire- Eega.
The plot goes like so: Jassi (Ajay Devgn) realizes he is caught in an ongoing family feud. The fathers of the two families died as a result of this but Jassi wants no part of it and wishes to sell off his land. Billu (Sanjay Dutt), however, seeks revenge. He also decides he won't get married till revenge is sought. (Really now?) Jassi ends up befriending Billu's niece played by Sonakshi Sinha, and lands up in their house. A part of the plot that it takes from Our Hospitality is that the guest cannot be harmed when he is in the house. It fits here as in India, somehow the guest is akin to God. There are several gags designed around this and till here, the film works.
For about an hour or so, Son of Sardaar is funny even while none of the actors can pull off a Punjabi accent. Ajay Devgn's portrayal of an innocent Sikh is amusing, after I got past the stereotypes. Most of the jokes also hit home. Sadly, all this does not stick for long. There is a running quip throughout the film â€œPaaji kaddi hass vi liya karoâ€ (Try laughing sometimes). This was funny a few times then it gets on your nerves and all I wanted to say was: â€œPaaji kadi hasa vi liya karoâ€. (Try making us laugh at least)
Tanuja plays Billu's mother. She has a condition, which intermittently wipes off her memory and she forgets who she is talking to. Ashwni Dhir forgets what film he is making or what the story is. Especially during the last hour, there is no sense of comedy or drama and the film literally falls flat. Logic can be twisted but suspension of disbelief cannot be taken for granted. You can bend many rules of storytelling but not distort them completely till everything breaks.
I like the Rani Raja song and Po Po just because it is unabashed fun. But none of the other songs make a mark. The love story is the film's weakest link. After some assumptions by both lovers, they arrive at inane conclusions and that was when I lost interest in the film. The climax which involves a fight between Devgn and Dutt is amazingly tiresome and frankly, just plain bad. Ajay Devgn had been scoring hits during Diwali since the past few years. This year he doesn't have one man on his side: Rohit Shetty.
Currently, we have a trend going on in the industry where masala means slow-motion violence, one love story and the hero defeating the villain in an 80s style homage. Bollywood is a market of trends and each trend goes bad at some point. I wondered when the audience will get tired of these kind of films. Son of Sardaar could signal the start of the end. At least in my book, it does.