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Sam Bahadur movie review: Vicky Kaushal is spot on in an excessively declamatory film

Sam Bahadur movie review: Vicky Kaushal is spot on in an excessively declamatory film

There’s a point in the film when Sam Bahadur is striding away from his low-on-morale-soldiers, having delivered a rousing address. One of them looks at his departing back and says: ‘we’ve finally got someone to tell us what to do’. There’s not just admiration in his tone, there’s reverence in his eyes.

Sam Manekshaw’s colourful personality and dazzling career has long been begging for a biopic. Meghna Gulzar’s 150-minute film, which focuses on the high points of his personal and professional life, is as admiring and reverential as that soldier who comes on for a moment and then bows out, his job done. Some individuals easily lend themselves to admiring bio-pics, and Sam Bahadur’s fans were, and still are, legion. But the film suffers from being excessively declamatory, with the background music overpowering the momentous events and the towering individuals on screen: the only one who escapes this, and keeps standing tall right through the film is Vicky Kaushal In and As Mankeshaw. This is Kaushal’s most challenging role, and he plays it to perfection.

In real life, Manekshaw, who became the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal, was a charismatic figure, about whom myths began being woven very early on: stories were told of his conquests on and off the field. His valour was unquestioned, and his men worshipped him. He was always immaculately dressed. Visitors had to be dressed appropriately too; no sloppiness was tolerated. He was, by all accounts, a great cook and host. And his caustic humour and bluntness were as legendary as his charm.


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