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I am Singh: Brashly nationalistic

I am Singh: Brashly nationalistic

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Tuesday 06 December 2011

Movie Title

I am Singh: Brashly nationalistic

Director

Puneet Issar

Star Cast

Gulzar Inder Chahal, Brooke Johnston, Rizwan Haider, Tulip Joshi, Puneet Issar

The film comes a decade too late.

And one doesn't just mean that about the film's subject (post 9/11 racial attacks). The treatment is utterly archaic. Who for example, introduces America onscreen, with the predictable aerial shot of the Statue of Liberty?

I am Singh tackles the post-9/11 hate crimes against Sikhs by rabid and ignorant racists. These were people who believed everyone with a turban was a terrorist. Of course, these attacks also became an excuse to avenge Asian citizens for taking over their jobs and homes.

'Go back to where you belong,' was usually said before the often-fatal attacks. Several innocent people lost their lives.

Racial discrimination in a post-11 world makes for a great subject. We're immediately involved; the film's subject draws you in. Unfortunately, we're rudely interrupted by a boisterous bachelor party where a blonde dancer performs a raunchy number. Oh well!

Our central protagonist Ranveer (Gulzar Chahal) rushes to America when he hears his family is the latest victim of such a hate-crime. His mother (she has three sons) and sister-in-law (who also has a son, of course), sob continuously.

The murders are shown in gruesome detail with 'sad music' playing in the background.

You're still ready to forgive all, if the film can throw up an interesting story or perspective. Unfortunately, the film takes a detour and becomes a story about the respect of the turban.

An honest cop is thrown out of service when he refuses to comply with the new no-turban policy.

So you hear dialogue like 'My turban is my crown' or nationalistic ones about India being the land of Mahatma Gandhi. Some stats are thrown around like 38 per cent of doctors in America are Indian and so on.

You enjoy the few moments of perspective when an angered character says it was America that created the Taliban in the first place. Or when the film's American citizens question their country's pressure tactics towards other countries.

Films like My Name is Khan and Khuda Ke Liye have tackled the issue of racial discrimination far more effectively. I am Singh, written and directed by Puneet Issar, (who had earlier written Sohail Khan's I?Proud to be an Indian in 2004), needed to bring something different to the table. It doesn't.

The below-par acting and archaic storytelling don't help either.

It's sad when films pick up pertinent topics, get the audience interested, and then sidetrack the issue for some rabble-rousing. Unless you're a fan of loud nationalism complete with dialogue-baazi, give this one a miss.

Rating: 1.5 stars

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