GADAR 2 : MOVIE REVIEW
1 STAR / 5 (THE DEFINITION OF PREPOSTEROUS)
DIRECTOR : ANIL SHARMA
CAST : AMEESHA PATEL, SUNNY DEOL, UTKARSH SINGH, MANISH WADHWA
HINDU-MUSLIM MURDEROUS CIRCUS PART 2
Many of you would have borne witness to the original ‘Gadar’ (2001) – a fantabulous, box office-igniting smash featuring Sunny Deol who uproots a water pump, single-handedly bashes up all Pakistan and returns to Bhaarat Mata with his abducted wife. It’s Lahore in place of Lanka, with Hanuman subsumed into Ram, and Luv-Kush rolled into one. Fast Forward to present : Mrs. Gadar realizes with alarm that hubby dear has become the nation’s top-most Modi bhakt and desh desh naa raha with Hindutva zealots running amok, so she re-packs her old Louis Vuitton and flees hoping she’ll find a better deal in Imran Khan. An enraged Sunny Deol waking up to see his begum has disappeared again, dials up Anil Sharma to kill the box office and shoot Gadar Part 2.
That would have been a plausible plot but there are slight variations in the actual Gadar Part 2.
Sharma and Deol return to deliver a script written with the maturity, poise and perspective of a seven year old. Neither Indian superheroes nor Pakistani caricatures triumph here, instead the supreme victors are sheer stupidity and gross crudity, which bomb to smithereens every tract of this 170 minute disgrace. It’s 1971 and Tara Singh (Sunny Deol) is still around – his face is heavily creased with often red-tinged eyes, still deeply in love with his dear wife Sakeena (Ameesha Patel) who on the other hand retains much of her beauteous youth, looking more like the elder sister than the mother of the fresh college boy Jeete Singh (Utkarsh Sharma).
A foolhardy mission involving civilian trucks ploughing through raging war unsurprisingly lands Tara Singh in no man’s land. With Daddy Dear disappeared, super son Jeete crosses the national border past Satanic officials from the other country, to hatch a grand plan where he unwittingly romances a lissome lass Muskaan (Simrat Kaur) whilst masquerading as a cook to find his father. Once inside Pakistan however, son and father are ensnared in a deadly game of snakes and ladders, orgiastically fighting, escaping and getting captured again, while thousands of Pakistani attackers who come their way get blown up, butchered or bludgeoned. Will this be the end of Tara & Jeete? (imagine a different Tom & Jerry where both team up and blast apart their attackers). Are you kidding? If anything happens to Tara and Jeete (Sakeena is forgotten anyway), what will happen to Gadar 3 and 4?
Those who have come to see raving Pakistani baddies get their just desserts and thousands of enemy humans getting mowed down, have come to the right place. Comparing Gadar 1 to 2 is like comparing gobar gas to cow dung – both issue more or less from the nether regions of imagination. While the first pic at least sported consistent momentum and proper emotional bang, Gadar 2 suffers from weak sentimental pull and overlong pacing which had the audience groaning at the already stretched intermission.
It’s jingoism aside, G1 tugged its heartstrings crudely but powerfully – hero’s wife and little son are taken away, he has to fight to reach his family, there’s a strong re-union and then an unlikely epic get-away. G2’s gravitational pull is more scattershot moon-like – Sakeena is mostly out of frame, and pic would have been vastly better served by Tara Singh having a daughter who dares to cross into enemy territory. You might say ‘Taken’ is already bedraggled but I’d posit a daughter braving hostile country to find her father and then the daughter-father dynamic could have had much deeper emotional pull if directed with bruising rigour.
Such audacious niceties are beyond the mind of writer Shaktimaan Talwar, Sharma and Deol who’d rather repeat the pattern of another Muslim girl paired with a boy from a different background, than have the guts to flip the original template. Records are also broken here in how fast a Pakistani family entrusts their girl to a new boy and different country. Pakistan has done no favours to India in real life, but another film showing another bunch of powerful Pakistani officials in one-dimensional, leering, ham-fisted, villainy only serves to vitiate an already poisoned subcontinental atmosphere seething in Muslim-Hindu hatred. Pic tries to hedge its jingoism by showing some scenes of Pakistanis being nice to Indian characters, and the latter mouthing inclusive platitudes but the larger toxic theme of Us Versus Them does nothing to improve a ruptured brotherhood.
There is enough rough action to fill three movies, but not enough of quality action choreography to fill even half.
The best performance belongs to the resplendent Simrat Kaur whose luminous young winsomeness is a star act waiting to happen when deployed to better effect in a better movie. The other roles are mediocre, poorly directed and somnambulistically scripted.
This is bottom-barrel film-making crudely designed to appeal to the basest jingoistic denominator. There is something about a stuck-in-Pakistan angle that brings out the worst in many Indian film-makers – viz. ‘Sarbjit’ (2016) and even the otherwise elite Ratnam’s ‘Kaatru Veliyidae’ (2017). Should you go back to watch Gadar 1 ? Not really. Instead go uproot a water pump and bash up the corrupt representative baddies who’re actually dragging down India and Pakistan.
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