Embarking on an expansive and diverse narrative canvas, “Sam Bahadur” compresses a lifetime of experiences into its compelling two and a half hours. Spanning four decades of active military service, five wars, anti-insurgency operations, and encounters with Prime Ministers, Meghna Gulzar’s ambitious biographical film, though occasionally hurried, ensures there’s never a dull moment.
At the forefront of the film’s impact is Vicky Kaushal’s spirited performance, breathing life into the rounded, rousing portrayal of Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw. This officer, a legend in his own right, is depicted not as a larger-than-life hero but as a man rooted in reality, characterized by grit, gallantry, joie de vivre, and an unwavering sense of purpose.
More an intense character study than a typical action-heavy war film, “Sam Bahadur” adeptly hits its targets, blending the remarkable life story of a charismatic general with the historical backdrop of a nation in flux. The screenplay, crafted by Bhavani Iyer, Shantanu Srivastava, and Meghna Gulzar, skillfully selects incidents and encounters, infusing the narrative with vividness and vibrancy.
As the film seamlessly traverses time, from the 1940s to the early 1970s, it embraces ellipses without compromising the sweeping and consistently arresting saga. The screenplay strategically weaves together the charismatic general’s career and the nation’s eventful history, delivering a captivating portrayal of an individual intertwined with the destiny of a nation.
Manekshaw’s mantra, “I fight to win,” resonates throughout the film, and while the narrative might hint at the typical Hindi action hero, Meghna Gulzar refrains from turning the protagonist into a one-dimensional figure. Instead, she presents a believable human – a man of conviction, intelligence, confidence, and masterful strategy.
The film cleverly delves into the origins of the moniker “Sam Bahadur,” revealing the intriguing story behind the name change. Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal of Sam Manekshaw, balancing between caricature and authenticity, depicts a man both charming and formidable.
“Sam Bahadur” stands out for its nuanced approach, avoiding overt militarism while celebrating the bravery of India’s soldiers. The film navigates through battle scenes and punchlines, yet never overshadowing the more subtle elements that construct this lively biopic.
Beyond the battlefield, the film explores the personal facets of a general’s life, highlighting moments with Manekshaw’s wife Silloo (Sanya Malhotra) and family. Set against a backdrop where love for the nation transcends religious lines, “Sam Bahadur” embodies the idea of unity in diversity, a fundamental aspect of India’s ethos.
A court of inquiry charges Manekshaw with being anti-national, providing a thought-provoking scene that underscores the general’s commitment to training soldiers, not politicians. However, the film falters slightly in its portrayal of Jawaharlal Nehru while giving Indira Gandhi a more comprehensive treatment.
Despite this, “Sam Bahadur” remains a riveting experience, weaving together historical footage and sequences that keep the film engaging throughout. While Vicky Kaushal’s performance takes center stage, Meghna Gulzar’s delicate balance between ambition and restraint ensures a remarkable emotional and cinematic payoff, making “Sam Bahadur” more than just a one-man show.
Avinash Poojari is the owner of ComClone News website. He is an accomplished author specializing in the field of information technology. With a Master’s degree in Information Technology, Avinash hails from Mumbai. Passionate about researching breaking news, he is dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.