By Riya Mehrotra
“For 21 years, I have been trying to get revenge,” said Udam Singh, when asked during his trial about his motives for the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer – responsible for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar – on March 13, 1940.
Coincidentally, almost 21 years is what it took for Shoojit Sircar Sardar Udham to come to fruition after the director first thought of making a biography on the revolutionary leader while visiting Jallianwala Bagh in 1999. Sardar Udham was launched on Amazon Prime Video at October 16.
Recently, FE met with Sircar, actor Vicky Kaushal, and producer Ronnie Lahiri to talk about their latest release.
Sircar describes Sardar Odam as a once in a lifetime movie. “I sometimes ask myself how to do it,” he says.
For Sircar, who made critically acclaimed films such as Piku and Vicky Donor, the single most influential film he had in any patriot was Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. “Even though we haven’t gotten to that level,” he says, “it’s a relief to see that we’re there in a way.”
1999 is also special for another reason. Shahid Udham Singh’s film, starring Raj Babbar as Udam Singh, has been released in theaters. Ask the team if they’ve seen the film for any reference, and Sircar replies, “I’ve seen this movie. We took a little different. Our stories are mostly survivor stories – survivors who have testified, historians and documents that come out of the time he was (Odham Singh) In prison in London. He was very vague, so there is no comprehensive document as such, but we connected the dots.”
Earlier, during an interview with FE, actor Sidharth Malhotra spoke about how he met the family of the late Captain Vikram Batra to get to know him as a person before he wrote about his character. But in this case, actor Vicky Kaushal did not have any reference points. When asked how he prepared for the role, he said, “The biggest tool becomes your imagination. The director and the team of 200 to 300 people create this world for you so you get into that costume and make up and dive into that character in physical form. You can only imagine what it must have felt like.” Doing then sincerely trying to touch that note.
Beyond that I can’t think and act much. I trust my intuition a lot and go and give in to that space and then explore it with the director that’s how I feel right now.”
Vicky Kaushal’s choice of films from the beginning of his career resonated with Sircar’s body of work, both of whom worked in meaningful cinema. Ask him how his works have shaped him as an actor and he replies, “I was born and raised in Bombay. So, until I was 22-23 years old, my life was restricted until about 2-3 kilometers from college and home. So, I had limited knowledge. But as an actor, it continues My horizons are stretching and I now have a better understanding of that particular issue or topic raised in the film I worked on.”
With expectations from the film soaring and Kaushal and Sircar bringing their expertise to the table, Sardar Udham has been added to the long list of commercial and critical successes like Shershaah and Raazi. In fact, the patriotic genre – along with sports in the past few years – has become audiences’ taste with most films well-received. Sports bios add a title almost every year with the greatest hits like Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and more. When asked if the genre would eventually become the formula for commercial success, producer Lahiri said, “It is a problem with our psychology as a nation that it follows what everyone does. Not everyone does the experiment or has the courage to experiment.”
When asked why the movie was releasing on the OTT platform (Amazon Prime Video) when theaters finally reopened, producer Lahiri said, “We’ve waited so long. Until about a month ago, we didn’t know if theaters would open soon. There’s always uncertainty and he’s talking About the third wave.As a production house (Rising Sun Films), it is also important to us that if one movie is ready, we should take it out and start another because my 300-strong crew will not get work on my end.So, these were the deciding factors “.
For Sircar, Irrfan Khan was the first choice for the film. However, after his death, Vicky Kaushal got the role. “There had to be someone this serious as an actor,” Sircar adds.