Never mind the 200 toffee-nosed critics who will tell you that this film is crass, outdated, loud, etc etc … Gadar 2 is the best extraction thriller I’ve seen in ages. Sunny Deol is a far more convincing extractioner than Chris Hemsworth.
When Deol roars, you know he means business. And the Pakistani villains in this monstrously over-the-top drama get Tara Singh (is he the brother of Dara Singh?) really mad when they take his son a prisoner.
If you know Sunny Deol, and if you have seen Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (and who hasn’t!) you would know you can’t mess with Tara Singh without getting a blow on your head from the handpump.
Deol , for my money, is the best action hero in India and no Pathan or Tiger can replace him. As a loving husband (to Ameesha Patel who acts as though she is genie in a battle) and more importantly, a loving father, Deol’s Tara Singh is a masterclass in melodramatic manoeuvrings.
Shaktimaan Talwar’s screenplay, set during the height of the ‘Crush India’ movement in Pakstan circa 1971-72, is the other hero of Gadar 2 as it was in the first Gadar. If only Shaktimaan had avoided some crude characterizations (like Dolly Bindra whose comedy—presuming that’s what she is doing—is acutely painful).
The Pakistani army general played by Manish Wadhwa is so uncouth and caricatural in his villainy, he reminded me of Sadashiv Amrapurkar in Anil Sharma’s Hukumat and Elaan-e-Jung, both starring Sunny Deol’s father Dharmendra.
But like they say, the ‘crass’ is always greener on the other side. Providentially, the screenplay doesn’t entirely demonize our neighbours. My favourite sequence in the film is the one where a lovely Pakistani woman (played beautifully by Lubna Salim) is kind to Tara Singh’s son Jeete. When Jeete says he doesn’t know how to repay her kindness she says, “If you ever run into a helpless Pakistani in India, just be kind to him.”
This is a rare moment of introspection in film forever fuelled by a frenzied flurry. The pace is relentless. Though the action scenes lack the CG-ied finesse of Pathaan, they are nonetheless hugely enjoyable. Yes, the soundtrack could have been a few decibels lowered. The background score is a banshee of clarion calls ,a sort of supplement to the patriotic jingoism that comes naturally to such films where our the hero gets his way in the neighboring country.
In spite of clamorous tone, Gadar The Katha Continues is a remarkable achievement. It blends the spirit of nationalism with the an elating excursionary plot reminding us that mainstream cinema was always about telling a good story.
Strip away all the jingoism and flag waving, and Gadar is at heart a father-son story. Sunny Deol and Utkarsh Sharma complement each other effectively. Sharma who looks like a blend of Vijay Deverakonda and Ravi Kissan, manages to hold his own in a pivotal role. He dances and fights well and romances the pretty Pakistani lass (Simrat Kaur) with some beautiful songs .
Finally the handpump. Does Sunny Deol wrench out the unlikely weapon of destruction from its resting place this time around? The answer is a yes and a no. The dedh kilo ka haath can still do anything. It is unstoppable. So, it would seem, in Anil Sharma’s bombastic epic.
Oh, there is a sweet Dharmendra reference in the film where Tara Singh’s son does a fan moment with the star and Sunny Deol’s Tara yells at his son for wasting time on movies.
Irony can go no further. Neither can self-referencing.