Sam Bahadur Movie Review: Vicky Kaushal's masterful performance is the guiding anchor of this period flick
The movie is a glorious tribute to the bravery, courage, discipline and vision of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. It explores various events from his achievements as the Chief Of The Army Staff of India.
- Meghna Gulzar
- Vicky Kaushal,
- Fatima Sana Shaikh,
- Sanya Malhotra
- biographical period drama/war/action
In a scene from the movie, Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Janshedji Manekshaw can be seen motivating his soldiers before the India-Pakistan war of 1971 by saying, 'Hum Rahe Na Rahe Humare Vardi Ka Gaurav Rehna Chahiye.' The intensity and fire which Vicky Kaushal masterfully exudes makes you wonder that he was truly destined for this revered role. The Meghna Gulzar directorial's real strength lies in the power of the performances of the lead star cast.
Sam Bahadur revolves around the life of Field Marshal Manekshaw's prowess and glory. His courage, determination, discipline, and vision led the Indian army to various victories. From not letting politics sweep into the sanctity of the Indian army to demanding basic respect for the soldiers, the film is a glorious tribute to his values and principles. It also showcases his relationship with the two important women in his life, his beloved wife Siloo Manekshaw (Sanya Malhotra), and the former Prime Minister Of India Indira Gandhi (Fatima Sana Shaikh).
Meghna Gulzar is known for not only incorporating the performances and the events in an organic manner but also for her thorough research in capturing the realism of that era. Right from the Burma War to World War 2, the Sino-Indian War, the Indo-Pakistan War, and the Bangladesh Liberation War, the events and incidents look well-researched and not overly dramatized and preachy. The writing by Bhavani Iyer, Shantanu Srivastava, and Meghna herself pays close details to Manekshaw's close but cautious camaraderie with PM Gandhi. The politics, obstacles that he faces, and most importantly the discipline and steadfastness that he yearns for in the Indian Army are curated intricately. A subplot of Manekshaw's wife being insecure about his growing closeness with the Prime Minister is both hilarious and endearing to witness. However, the film could've done with a sharper screenplay which might have reduced the laborious pace of the movie. A little more detail into Sam's intellect and astuteness would have been a bigger treat to watch instead of some of the politics-heavy scenes.
Talking about the performances which also form one of the main guiding forces of Sam Bahadur, give the National Award to Vicky Kaushal already! The man brings a tsunami of fire, intensity and sheer brilliance. He embodies the mannerisms, accent and the blaring gaze of Manekshaw perfectly without being too overbearing. Notice the scenes wherein he makes people understand the difference between soldiers and laborers commanding the much-needed respect of an Indian soldier. Or blurting out a 'Sweetie' to almost every third person. Kaushal delivers unarguably his finest performances till date. The man single-handedly carries the film afloat. Fatima Sana Shaikh impresses and how as former Prime Minister Of India Indira Gandhi. She gets the accent and mannerisms correct and strikes a fine balance between being poise yet fierce in the role. Some of her scenes with Vicky's Manekshaw are definitely one of the highlights of this one. Sanya Malhotra in her brief appearance as the dutiful and doting wife of Manekshaw does complete justice to her role.
The other impressive performances include Neeraj Kabi's Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub as Yahya Khan and Govind Namdev as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The cinematography by Jay I Patel is flawless especially in capturing the battleground scenes. Unlike Meghna's previous 2018 film Raazi, Sam Bahadur's soundtrack fails to create a strong impact though. However, minus some minute misses, Sam Bahadur does justice to its motive to be a befitting tribute to Manekshaw's life. Vicky Kaushal, take a bow once again!