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Sarabjit review: Unbelievable Love and Unbelievable Cruelty!

Sarabjit review: Unbelievable Love and Unbelievable Cruelty!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Friday 20 May 2016

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Movie Title

Sarabjit

Director

Omung Kumar

Star Cast

Aishwarya Rai, Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadda

We all know the story of Sarabjit Singh - the Indian farmer who after straying over the border into Pakistan in 1990, was arrested for alleged terrorism. He languished in the Pakistani jail for over two decades, finally succumbing to an attack by jail inmates.

The film trails this story which is so painful, it’s bizarre. Equally, it tells us the story of Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir who spent 23 years, moving mountains, to get her brother free. And it’s a remarkable journey indeed.

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All odds seem stacked against Sarabjit’s family. We’re shown glimpses of the torture Sarabjit endures in Pakistani jails. He is beaten and caged inside a box. A bath means some water poured on him through the box. More inhumane torture follows, leading to the defeated man confessing what they wanted to hear. That he is their wanted man who goes by the name of Ranjit Singh.

“A scared man will do anything,” says Sarabjit in the movie, admitting that the wrong confession to escape further torture was a huge mistake.

Then on, starts a journey which would make the physical torture seem like child’s play. They snatch that one thing that kept him connected to the outside world - a window, where he could see the sky, and throw him in solitary confinement.

Dalbir leaves no stone unturned, even travelling to Delhi and waiting eight months to get an appointment with the Prime Minister’s office. From there to her inspiring speeches to her hunger fasts, Dalbir does everything to save her brother. “You have earned yourself respect and power. Use it to help others,” says a broken Sarabjit to his sister, urging her to help a Pakistani boy languishing in an Indian jail.

You admire the enormity of Sarabjit’s spirit, who despite being on death row, has it in him to think of someone else’s suffering.

The only time the film falters is its disappointingly jingoistic dialogue that usually begins with the words, “hum Hindustani….”

Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, who has created unlikely buzz around her lip-colour choice in Cannes, is impressive. Her unselfconscious performance lets her become Dalbir wholly— the sister who is as tortured out of prison, as her brother is in prison. She is a real hero— as steely as she is loving; a constant source of strength for her brother and his family. Rai-Bachchan rarely falters, except in scenes where she is made to thump her chest with jingoistic dialogue. But then, no actor can survive that.

Randeep Hooda is outstanding in the role. The steady physical and mental degeneration of the man is brilliantly portrayed by Hooda. This is an actor who has been giving superb performances in mediocre films, and one hopes he gets his due.

Richa Chaddha remains in the background for the most part, coming alive and showing her prowess in a single scene, where in a brilliant turnaround, she becomes the one giving strength to Dalbir’s character.

Director Omung Kumar picks up a real-life story yet again, after his debut film Mary Kom. Sarabjit is an ambitious story to pick for a second film, riddled as it is with undertones of Indo-Pak political tensions, human rights issues and the like. Kumar does a fair job, but the film bears the brunt of melodrama rearing its head in the form of flashbacks and over-the-top dialogue. And honestly, the director quoting himself at the end of the film is bizarre.

As is usually the case, the last few minutes where the film shows us photographs of Sarabjit and Dalbir have a huge impact, much more than the film put together. In the end, you’re glad someone picked this subject and brought it on the big screen. This may not be very fulfilling as a film, but it should be watched for the extraordinary story full of unbelievable love and unbelievable cruelty.

Sarbjit review: 3 stars