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"The iron man of India!"
  • 1993
  • 8.1  (822)

Sardar is a 1993 historical film directed by Ketan Mehta and starring Paresh Rawal, Tom Alter, and Deepika Amin. The movie is based on the life and times of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the most prominent and influential leaders of India's independence movement. The film opens with a young Vallabhbhai Patel witnessing a ceremony involving a cow, which was considered sacred by the Hindus but was being slaughtered by the Muslims. This incident had a profound impact on Patel, who later became adamant about Hindu-Muslim unity and worked tirelessly to bring the two communities together. We then see Patel as a lawyer, fighting cases to help the poor and downtrodden, like a woman falsely accused of theft and a farmer whose land was forcibly taken away by a landlord.

As the Indian independence movement gains momentum, we see Patel getting involved in the fight for freedom. He joins forces with Mahatma Gandhi and becomes an integral part of the Indian National Congress, working towards the goal of freeing India from British rule. Patel becomes the Congress' chief negotiator with the British, and when the negotiations fail, he joins the Quit India movement and is imprisoned along with other leaders. We also see Patel's personal life, including his relationship with his wife, who was a pillar of strength for him.

The second half of the film focuses on Patel's role in the aftermath of Indian independence. He becomes the first Deputy Prime Minister of India and is tasked with the monumental challenge of integrating the numerous princely states with the Indian Union. The film shows how Patel uses his intelligence, determination, and persuasive skills to convince the hesitant princes to accede to India, thereby unifying the country into a single nation. We also see Patel's disappointment with the way India's leaders were handling the communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims, and how his health begins to deteriorate due to the immense strain that the integration effort puts on him.

The movie ends with Patel's death in 1950, and the immense impact that he had on India's history is highlighted through newspaper clippings and audio of speeches by other leaders. The film manages to convey Patel's immense contribution towards shaping modern India, and his unwavering commitment to the ideals of unity, justice and freedom for all.

Paresh Rawal shines in the titular role, completely embodying Patel's no-nonsense attitude and stoic resolve. His portrayal showcases the myriad facets of Patel's personality, from his determined fight for justice to his emotional attachment to his family. Rawal's command over the story and the character is evident from the first scene, and he carries the film on his shoulders with ease.

Tom Alter and Deepika Amin both deliver powerful performances as Gandhi and Patel's wife, respectively. Alter's portrayal of Gandhi captures his philosophy and spirituality, while Amin's portrayal of Patel's wife provides an emotional anchor for the character.

The film's direction by Ketan Mehta is top-notch, with the story flowing seamlessly from one episode to the next. The cinematography is beautiful, capturing the rich landscapes of India and portraying the various historical events accurately. The film's music by Vanraj Bhatia is soulful and evocative, with songs that complement the film's narrative perfectly.

In conclusion, Sardar is an excellent biopic that stands the test of time. It manages to capture the essence of one of India's most revered leaders, bringing his story to life in a compelling narrative that showcases his remarkable journey. Anyone interested in India's history, or those looking for an inspiring story of perseverance and courage, should definitely watch Sardar.

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    8.1  (822)