Distress Signal

Son Of Sardaar

DIRECTOR: Ashwni Dhir

CAST: Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Juhi Chawla, Tanuja, Mukul Dev, Vindu Dara Singh


This film begins with Ajay Devgn hanging precariously from a clock tower with one hand, twisting his other fist vigorously. But that, dear viewer, is not an SOS. That is a dance step. And that very first sighting pretty much defines the film: that Devgn was never in any danger of slipping and falling, that he was just doing the sardaar thing. It doesn't matter if it is death defying, or logic defying: you only mess with sardaars and their sons at your peril. The film also declares that it is okay for sardaars to take digs at themselves, not for anyone else. But what to do if the whole enterprise feels like an extended gag, featuring a bunch of loonies who just happen to be sardaars?

The only way to sit through Son Of Sardaar, therefore, is to treat it much as you would a cartoon flick, where all the characters are exaggerated, and larger than life, and all of them do weird things, and repeat the same actions. So Jassi Randhawa (Devgn) is on a mission in his Punjab village, which should have been simple enough, but gets complicated because of an old enmity between his family and the family of Balwinder Sandhu aka Ballu Paaji (Dutt). These sons of sardaars then set about reaching the end goal of how old feuds are best forgotten, and how love is the only glue, and all of those other messages, but getting there is mostly painful, not because it is so loud that's what sardaars are, according to this film but because it is so dull.

The jokes in Son Of Sardaar start off as a one-time laugh, which quickly turn tiresome because they are pressed into service in a loop. Jassi knows that under the 'ghar aaye mehmaan are bhagwaan' trope, he will be safe till he remains within Billu's haveli, so that's his endeavour; his hosts want to sling him out, and that's your whole film. This large abode houses a demented old Bebey (it breaks my heart to see the gracious Tanuja to have to do this), a chulbuli old maid (Juhi Chawla looking as sprightly as ever), a sexy young thing (Sinha), a couple of layabouts (Dev and Vindu) whose only job is be Ballu's bodyguards, and a bunch of lathi-wielding louts. The tussle between Jassiji and Balluji is peppered with lots of oye. Sonakshi is a Soniye. But Devgn as Heeriye, or Baliye? He is a sincere performer who gives it his all, even the slipping-on-banana-peel moments, but even he can't save this leaden thing.

... contd.

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