Bollywood Movies

Lofty aim, tepid result mark this biopic

March 22, 20245 Mins Read

A film that becomes monotonous off and on, with random bright patches in the second half

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Randeep Hooda, Ankita Lokhande, Amit Sial, Anjali Hoodfa, Jay Nano Patel, Rajesh Khera, Santosh Ojha, Russell Geoffrey Banks

Director: Randeep Hooda

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: Lofty aim, tepid result mark this biopic
Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review(Photo Credit –IMDb)

What’s Good: Lesser-known facts about a man, many of them shocking, who wanted Independence from the British and an inclusive India

What’s Bad: Too many chapters of Savarkar’s illustrious life crammed in a too-lengthy narration that fails to engross and rouse the viewer

Loo Break: Off and on especially in the overlong ‘Kala Pani’ phase

Watch or Not?: Your choice, but be prepared for boredom at many junctures

Language: Hindi

Available On: Theatrical release

Runtime: 178 Minutes



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Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: Lofty aim, tepid result mark this biopic
Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review(Photo Credit –IMDb)

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: Script Analysis

The script is the biggest liability in this biopic. It may be permissible to insert a dose of dramatic fiction judiciously into cinematic life sketches, but the current film delves too much into non-essentials like the hangings of many freedom fighters and multiple incidents of the freedom struggle from all over the country. It lingers too long on the section in the Andaman and Nicobar cellular jail and thus strays too much into zones from which it should have stayed clear. Also, it shows Savarkar as someone who inspired even Netaji to take up the fight against the British, which does seem a bit far-fetched.

We all know about the ideological clash between Gandhi and Savarkar, but Gandhi is shown as a uni-dimensional pro-Muslim leader, which may be based on researched fact but can antagonize a section of the audience and make the film tagged as “propaganda for elections”, a common grouse against historical, filled- with-facts movies in recent times.

On the other hand, I, for one, did not know that Savarkar’s brother, Ganesh (played by Amit Sial), was also in the Cellular Jail, and a few other interesting factoids about our freedom struggle and Savarkar. I also was shocked to know that he was arrested even for conspiring in Gandhi’s assassination.

The script makes a praiseworthy attempt to show the true definition of the word “Hindutva”, as still mouthed by many as an anti-Indian, anti-secular term. It also underscores Savarkar’s passionate belief that Indians are first and last Indians irrespective of their faiths. We also see every freedom fighter, including Sikhs, Parsis and Muslims, fervently say “Vande Mataram” when it is now, wrongly, considered a Hindu mode of worship and objected to as a “communal” chant!

On the whole, the script, though balanced in its research and content, becomes too convoluted. Sadly, the debutant director has also written it along with Utkarsh Naithani, but it hardly makes for something that the people will take to at the box-office.

I always believe that a message film or a movie on an icon (like Veer Savarkar here) should primarily succeed to spread the right knowledge and deliver a timely message. And in this aspect, the writing proves woefully inadequate.

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: Star Performance

Such a movie rests largely on its performances, but even here, Swatantrya Veer Savarkar is a mixed bag. Randeep Hooda is absolutely brilliant as the freedom fighter, and clearly passionate about the man he is etching on screen. I especially admired the glints in his eyes, fluidly reflecting diverse emotions like anger, frustration, irony, love and of course, pain. Amit Sial, as Ganesh Savarkar, shows the same passion he does in every role, and it is nice to see him in an unalloyed, positive role.

But the supporting cast finds very few memorable essays. As mentioned, Gandhi is shown in a negative light and Rajesh Khera is also probably not a right choice either. Ankita Lokhande is completely wasted. The actors playing key roles like Lokmanya Tilak, Subhash Chandra Bose, Madame Cama, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jinnah and Gopal Krishna Gokhale get sketchy parts, while the actor performing as Dr. Ambedkar actually comes across as a non-entity.

And Russell Geoffrey Banks as the Andaman warden and the actor portraying the Muslim jailor ham to the hilt.

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: Lofty aim, tepid result mark this biopic
Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review(Photo Credit –IMDb)

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: Direction, Music

Randeep Hooda piles too much on his own plate to make an impressive mark as director. He also alienates the audience with something avoidable: incidents, statistics and events and locations are highlighted on-screen only in English, which should have been also replicated in Hindi. His love for dark shots (often needless and overdone) in crucial sequences exposes a possible undue influence from his dull-acting vehicle, Sarbjit. Too much of such ‘reality’ – based treatment can undo a good film completely.

The songs are functional and unimpressive. But kudos to Sandesh Shandilya and Mathias Duplessy for the background score, which seldom goes wrong.

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Movie Review: The Last Word

This is a regrettably unmoving life sketch of a cardinal player in India’s freedom struggle and post-independence relevance. Watch it if you must, but I would strongly recommend the authentic 2001 Hindi biopic Veer Savarkar instead to know what an ardently fiery individual Veer Savarkar was and how (actually) entertainingly action-packed was his life!

Two and a half stars!

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Trailer

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Swatantrya Veer Savarkar releases on 22nd March, 2024.

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