you have to give it to john abraham. Just three years after starring in Parmanu, a troubling film about warmongering, he sent Arjun Kapoor to Pakistan as a one-man Samjhauta Express in Sardar Ka Grandson. On Netflix, the feel-good drama, co-produced by John, has the potential to damage an already tense situation.
arjun kapoor stars as amreek, a man who runs a moving and packing business in los angeles with his girlfriend radha, played by rakul preet singh. Blinded by some kind of male entitlement, he lashes out at her a day after she points out legitimate flaws in her personality and work ethic. With his ego wounded beyond repair, he flies to his hometown of Amritsar, where he learns that his grandmother, played by Neena Gupta under a three-inch prosthetic limb, is about to die. /p>
watch sardar ka grandson trailer here
her dying wish is to see her ancestral home in lahore, and she asks amreek to take her there. But when the Pakistani authorities deny her a visa, she comes up with the most insane plan this side of Armageddon. amreek, after watching a youtube video, decides his only option is to literally ‘go to pakistan’ alone, and somehow physically transport her grandmother’s old house across the border. honestly, what more can you expect from a guy who shares the name of a murthal dhaba and openly admits that he eats pizza with achaar?
amreek’s diplomatic mission includes being arrested almost immediately upon entering pakistan, consuming bootlegged alcohol and mingling with locals in song and dance sequences. he does all this with arjun’s face resting.
unlike neena, arjun can’t even blame thick makeup for his dull acting. But to be fair to him, the script, co-written by director Kaashvie Nair, with Anuja Chauhan and Amitosh Nagpal, isn’t something an actor can elevate.
sardar ka grandson is the kind of movie where practically every character functions as a stereotype. so you have people named pinky, ponty and lovely, who say things like ‘fitte moo’ and are called ‘khota’. these people start their day with a shouting match over some paranthas and invariably end it with a post-dinner bang.
Meanwhile, in parallel to this hokey nonsense, a dramatically different John Abraham movie plays out in flashback. The action star appears as Amreek’s grandfather, who died in a violent clash during the Partition. Aditi Rao Hydari, appearing in her third Netflix release in about as many months, plays the younger version of Neena’s character.
Neither is comfortable with the clunky dialogue, fluctuating between Punjabi and Hindi with little regard for authenticity. while aditi pronounces the word house as ‘kaar’, john, in the same scene, uses the hindi ‘ghar’.
every moment in sardar ka grandson is punctuated by a heavy-handed background score, telling you exactly what to feel. emotional strings accompany the flashbacks, while the modern sequences are peppered with comical sound effects that go “bing” and “bong” whenever someone makes a mistake, which they frequently do. and when the score doesn’t smack you in the face with instructions on how to react, the characters abruptly announce what they’re thinking, just to make sure you’re on the same page. Which, unless you’re three years old, you probably are.
Also read: Ajeeb Daastaans Movie Review: Neeraj Ghaywan Saves Karan Johar’s Ragged Netflix Movie From Disaster
sardar ka grandson has his heart in the right place, but it all seems to be a bit fake. As Amreek points out in another example from the movie spoon-feeding the audience, people on both sides of the border have no ill will towards each other; it is the bureaucrats in charge who are causing the chaos. but that’s not entirely true, is it? especially coming from an industry that has made millions demonizing the other side.
many punjabi families, mine included, would identify with the core conflict that sardar ka grandson tries to capitalize on. And so would the thousands of families who live in Old Delhi, several of whom have cousins on the other side. It’s a shame, then, that decades of pain have been reduced to this ridiculous mess of a movie that includes a scene where Arjun pretends to be Miley Cyrus for a minute.
sardar ka grandson
director – kaashvie nair
cast: arjun kapoor, rakul preet singh, neena gupta, kumud mishra
follow @htshowbiz for more
author tweets @rohannaahar