Sarbjit : A lesson in humanity & an eyeopenor
The movie narrates the struggle of Dalbir, whose sole aim in life was to get her brother, out of jail. Randeep plays Sarabjit, while Aishwarya is seen essaying the role of Dalbir Kaur. The sole message this movie potrays is hoping that several Indians prisoners in Pakistani jails are brought back specially those not convicted of any crime.
The 132-minute movie opens in the border village where Sarbjit (Randeep Hooda) lives with his wife Sukhpreet (Richa Chadha), two infant daughters and his widower father. Dalbir (Rai Bachchan), who is deeply attached to her brother, has left her husband and returned to her family. Sarabjit Singh, a farmer resides at Bhikiwind, Punjab, near the Indo-Pak border. Celebration bells ringing in the air, romance and happiness of a sweet family is introduced in the first 10 minutes. On the day that changed Sarabjit’s life, Dalbir admonishes her younger brother for his waywardness and locks him out of the house. As Sarabjit’s protests fall on deaf ears, a friend whisks him away for a binge. He has too many drinks and when the revelry ends, he takes off in the wrong direction never to return home. However, he is mistaken to be an Indian spy and is sentenced to capital punishment. He is tortured in the Pakistani jail to death and named as the person behind bomb blasts in Lahore city of Pakistan. He is alleged as Ranjit Singh in Pakistan who is the main culprit behind the blasts. Dalbir Kaur is cast in the mould of an unbending fighter for elusive justice. It is now that she swings into action. She bangs away at her sewing machine with determination, stomps through the corridors of power to persuade officials of her brother’s innocence, and delivers lectures on Indo-Pak peace on every possible occasion.
Amid all this, Sarabjit’s wife, Sukh (Richa Chadha), is pushed to the background and is only occasionally allowed to get a word in edgewise. Singh’s family went through a tumultuous period, trying to secure his release. He was sentenced to death in 1991 but wasn’t hanged. An agonizing waiting period began – 23 years to be precise. He was held captive in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. It’s Dalbirs struggle all the way to get her brother the undue justice. The writers put Sarbjit’s fate against the backdrop of repeated terrorist attacks on India, but the jingoism is dialled down to the minimum requirement. They also slip in the point that there are many Sarabjits in Indian prisons. Some moving sequences survive the delirium. In an early scene that establishes the relationship between the siblings, Sarbjit persuades Dalbir to give up the corpse of her stillborn child – a rare moment of subtlety.
Finally, Sarabjit Singh was killed by fellow inmates on April 26, 2013. His body is returned to his family in Bhikhiwind, and there is a tearful, heartbreaking reunion. Dalbir Kaur chooses to rise up to the occasion when she is forced to confront a grim situation, opting to stay on the battlefield with her head held high, refusing to fade into the growing darkness of the night. The film tilts overly because much of what is set in a Pakistani jail is driven more by the filmmaker’s imagination than by any recorded evidence. While the makers of Sarbjit could be lauded for attempting to tell an important story, the methods that they employ for the purpose are utterly out of place.
The music of Sarbjit gets a good start as plethora of talent comes together. There are about 10 songs to this heavy album. The album opens on a very poignant note with Salamat which has been composed by Amaal Malik. Rashmi Virag’s verses and Arijit Singh’s soulful rendition are the highlight of this sad but beautiful number. While Tulsi Kumar provides good support to Arijit.
Dard, as the name indicates, is again a sad number which has veteran Sonu Nigam behind the mike and is a tale of the misery and suffering being endured by the lead protagonists.
There are some celebratory moments though with Sukhwinder Singh’s rendition of Sandeep Singh written ‘Tung Lak‘. Set in Punjab with an out and out ‘bhangra’ setting to it, this one actually ups the ante right away and you do like what you hear. Other songs include ‘Rabba‘, ‘Meherbaan‘, ‘Barsan Laagi‘, ‘Mera Junoon‘, ‘Allah Hu Allah‘, ‘Nindiya‘ and ‘Sarbjit Theme‘.
To sum up, the soundtrack of Sarbjit more or less sticks to the theme of pathos and suffering as expected.
Breaking away from the image of glamorous roles, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has reprised an author-backed role and delivered a brilliant acting. Along with the script, their performances are the highlights of the film “Sarbjit”. Richa Chadha is top notch. Darshan Kumar is pitch perfect. For Randeep’s sparkling performance, I suggest you don’t miss Sarbjit. He makes his pain your own with his pitch-perfect rendering. For all the effort he has put into this movie, he definitely deserved better. He is an exceptionally gifted actor and has clearly put in a lot of effort to get into the skin of the character. SARBJIT is an exceptional film that leaves you spellbound. It’s a story that all should know.