Readers Write In #416: Bullet Point Report – Sardar Udham

Posted on October 23, 2021


(by Macaulay Perapulla)

Long before Baradwaj Rangan became the film critic de rigeur of the average Indian cinephile, he mastered the rare art of writing delightful reviews that were couched in the most mundane typographical devices: Bullet Points. Back in his Indian Express days, when BR’s writings were the purist Rayar Mess for the Chennai cinephile, they were the perfect dessert that came along after a Saturday high-brow meal, “In Between Reviews”.

Now that the video has killed the essay writer (save a few exhibition match appearances), a nostalgic, old reader presents a pastiche of a review to fondly recall those glorious days of bullet-point reports.

  • ●  When the trailer for Sardar Udham landed, I was cynical. Et tu Shoojit? Now that you have the best ingredients, are you going to serve the cinematic equivalent of a triple sundae for the jingoistic audience getting high on ancient runes and forgotten myths? Shoojit Sircar deserves a toast for his audacity. He dares to serve you a tall glass of milk that is real and effective enough to keep you going until you discover the potent ones that lay quietly at the bottom, in the last 30 minutes of the movie, when the movie knocks your socks off with its chilling depiction of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
  • ●  I sat up when Sardar Udham shot down Michael O’Dwyer in the first thirty minutes of the movie. Now that he is done with the killing, the writers go for an unconventional narrative arc that beautifully carries the impact of a traumatized revolutionary while navigating the post-truth of an assasination that lay under the classified files of British neo-colonialism for far too long.
  • ●  Sardar Udham reminded me of Munich, yet another lovely movie which uses the trauma as the climactic act of denouement to liberate the protagonist from the traumatic memories of the massacre.
  • ●  Sardar Udham starts off when Sher Singh is released from the prison in quest of his freedom, and along with him, we journey along to discover our brief little glimpses of freedom in the end, only after experiencing the emotional catharsis that awaits those who were too pained to heal from this ghastly massacre.
  • ●  It took Indians over 28 years to win Independence after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. 1600 Sikhs were killed by the Gorkha, Pathan, Baluch and Sindh regiments. How I wish the director had also cinematically explored the trauma carried by the soldiers who were ordered to shoot their fellow countrymen.
  • ●  After Udta Punjab showed the Punjabi youth that was high on drugs, how enchanting it is to see young revolutionaries drunk with their pursuit of inner freedoms: Meri jawani ka matlab bana? Ya zaaya kar di?((Did my life become meaningful or did I fritter it away?)