A film that holds potential as a great source of entertainment during lockdown 3.0.
By Simran Kaur
Warning: spoilers ahead!
A combination of snarky and sarcastic comments, unrealistic ideas, and strong performances from many actors, I believe this Kaashvie Nair directed comedic-drama is a must-watch for everyone looking for a different kind of Bollywood production.
Sardar Ka Grandson follows the story of Sardar (Neena Gupta), Amreek’s (Arjun Kapoor) 90-year-old grandmother who in the past, had to leave everything behind in Lahore during the Partition between India and Pakistan. Cut to present time, to fulfil her dying wish of being reunited with her house in Lahore, Amreek returns to India with the hope of doing everything in his power to make this happen.
While spending time with Sardar, Amreek understands her love for her house and promises to take her across the border so she can reunite with it. But of course, in classic Bollywood movie fashion, nothing can happen without any drama. Due to several reasons, the unfortunate reality is Sardar is unable to cross the border…but that doesn’t mean she can’t be reunited with her house as Amreek comes up with a prodigious idea: he decides to bring the house to her.
To keep his promise, Amreek sets off to Pakistan and has his own adventures there, from jumping onto a wrecking ball to being chased by the Pakistani police and eventually finding support from his ex-girlfriend and a group of new friends. Despite the many obstacles, with everyone’s help, Amreek eventually finds a way to put the house on the back of a truck and brings it back to India. Yes, AN ENTIRE HOUSE, on the back of a truck. Seems impossible, but he does it!
As the storyline progresses, viewers are made aware of the struggles that resulted from the Partition. Not only were lives lost, but people also had to leave their entire lives behind to survive. Reoccurring flashbacks that allow for a glimpse into to the life of a young Sardar (Aditi Rao Hydari) and her husband (John Abraham) in Lahore help emphasise how these sudden shifts left her heartbroken for the rest of her life.
As a viewer, I felt like the movie was like a roller-coaster ride. There certainly are parts that are entertaining and acted out well, such as the comedic relationship between Sardar and Amreek and the flashbacks scenes presented by Hydari and Abraham. At the same time, there are also parts where the narrative was needlessly dragged on despite it being clear as to what was going to happen next. There were also a few far-fetched and unrealistic scenes such as when top-government officials become a part of this project, and obviously, the whole idea of transporting a house on the back of a truck.
Something else that caught my attention while watching the film was the heartwarming parallel it had to the stories of how many Thai-Indian households came to be. While many of our grandparents and great-grandparents who migrated from Pakistan to Thailand after the Partition in search of better opportunities still have memories of their time there, the younger generations may not be able to understand this similarly. Throughout the movie, we were reminded that young Sardar had to leave her old life behind and start everything again from scratch. Initially Amreek did not understand her obsession with Lahore and her house, but as time progresses, he begins to realise its importance and why his grandmum valued it so greatly.
While the plot was decent at best, I appreciated that it introduced a new approach to a Bollywood film aside from the frequent comedy-horror, action-thriller, and overly-cliched stories we’ve become accustomed to. On a more positive note, where the story lacked, the songs made up for it. Even with “Jee Ni Karda” and “Main Teri Ho Gayi” being remakes of old songs, they do not disappoint audiences with their energetic tunes that bring to life to some of the drier scenes in the movie. Even with its shortcomings, if you’re looking for a comedic movie to watch with the family, I recommend you add this to the list!
Star rating: 4/5
Sardar Ka Grandson can now be streamed on Netflix.