Sam Bahadur Review: Vicky Kaushal Delivers a Moving Experience

Sam Bahadur Review: Vicky Kaushal Delivers a Moving Experience
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Neeraj Kabi, Govind Namdev
Directed by: Meghna Gulzar
Duration: 150 minutes
One man’s journey to leading a pivotal historical moment. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw led
the Indian Army from the front leading to Bangladesh's liberation and his life story in a span of
150 minutes.

The screenplay radiates the momentous era of South Asian history with grace, constructing a
work that does due diligence to the time period. The dialogue is keen, expressive and helps
viewers peek into the window of the key figures who shaped the fate of history. It expertly blends
historical accuracy with the nuanced emotions of the characters, crafting a captivating narrative
that holds the viewers all throughout, From the inception to the closure we live through a lifetime
without losing grip. Writers Bhavani Iyer, Shantanu Shrivastava and Meghna Gulzar bring a
vibrant essence into the historical personas, The multifaceted representation of Field Marshal
Sam Manekshaw exudes authenticity.
That being said, it stumbles in a few parts too. While the overall impact of the dialogues aren't a
miss, there are intervals where it veers into didacticism, feeling a bit contrived as it explicitly lays
out the historical backdrop. Moreover, the uneven pace leads to some moments not having
enough to explore. Despite this, the writing does capture the wartime leadership perfectly. The
emotional resonance is omnipresent in this depiction.

Vicky Kaushal is nothing less than exceptional. He commands the screen with a natural
charisma, determination and unwavering gravitas. His masterful delivery is stellar. He captures
the story of a man who is laden with responsibility and yet faces it with fortitude. His
performance beautifully navigates the strength and vulnerability. Vicky Kaushal’s performance
was surely ‘More than okay.’

Taking on the role of Pakistani military officer Yahya Khan, we see a daunting portrayal. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub through his remarkable talent, brought an unparalleled energy to the role, making it impossible to look away. Coupled with his Malignant demeanor, added an electrifying layer to the storyline. 

The raw and magnetic energy of Fatima Sana Shaikh from first frame to last is worth
witnessing. Fatima’s portrayal radiates a palpable intensity that stays long after the credit rolls,
leaving an indelible mark on the viewers. She is formally introduced right before the interval and
then takes on the role with conviction. She is known for her emotionally charged delivery, in this
film see her evocative rendition to it.

Sanya Malhotra’s portrayal is marked by poignant subtlety and emotional depth. The innate
reliance and unyielding strength of a character with a perfect blend of empathy is brought to life
by Sanya effortlessly. The emotional core of the film elevates due to her presence. 

Neeraj Kabi's portrayal of Pandit ji was a mesmerizing display of skill and dedication, showcasing a level of commitment that truly brought the character to life. One particular scene that stood out was his conversation with Sam Bahadur post Pandit Ji's announcement on Radio. 

Govind Namdev's on-screen presence was captivating, making the character resonate with the audience.

The film unfolds under Meghna Gulzar’s artful precision. Her keen eye for detail is evident in
every frame. Her ability to balance the epic scale of the conflict with the human stories within is
applaudable. The scale in recreating the war-torn era, alongside the layered character
representation, confirm the director's commitment to authenticity and storytelling. However,
within this grand craft, there are moments where the director's aim slightly falters. While the
beautiful visuals effectively spell the chaos of war, there are instances where the narrative feels
overstretched, failing the depth for spectacle. Some character arcs could have benefited from
more exploration and development. But the movie remains a testament to their capability to
helm a project of such magnitude, effectively inviting the audiences in the historical era while
incorporating empathy for the characters' struggles.

Technical elements:
The use of lighting and framing elevates the emotional depth of each scene, whether depicting
the chaos of conflict or the quieter moments shared by characters. The cinematographer's
artistry plays an unmissable role in immersing viewers in the setting, effectively conveying the
enormity of the war's impact on both landscapes and people.
The original soundtrack contributes considerably to the emotive weight of the movie, elevating
the viewing experience by evoking a range of emotions. The considerate curation of music
underscores the film's important moments, adding depth and intensity to the storytelling. ’Itni Si
Baat’ by Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam is beautiful.

Final thoughts
The movie pays homage to the brave hearts while taking us through a lifetime of emotions. The
film’s ability to inspire reflections and shed light on history is not lost on us. If you are a fan of
immersive narrative, do not miss this one.
Stars: 3.5/5