Saturday, May 25, 2024

Film Review – Ae Watan Mere Watan: Wasted Attempt for a Refreshing Story?

Nupur Jha 

Ae Watan Mere Watan premiered on March 21, 2024, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. It’s a biographical film about Usha Mehta, a brave young woman from 1942 who set up an underground radio station during the Quit India Movement to oppose British rule.

The movie stars Sara Ali Khan as Usha, along with Sparsh Srivastava, Emraan Hashmi, and Uday Chandra. American actor Alex O’Nell plays the role of the menacing and cunning Inspector John Lyre. The film is written by Darab Farooqui and Kannan Iyer, and produced by Karan Johar.

Before its release, Ae Watan Mere Watan grabbed attention, especially among fans of movies like Raazi and Uri: The Surgical Strike. But does it live up to its potential? Let’s explore a spoiler-free review to find out.

Usha Mehta, And Her Untold Story 

In an era where stories of freedom fighters like Sardar Udham Singh and Veer Savarkar are gaining prominence, Usha Mehta’s tale is one that India truly deserves to know. However, despite its refreshing narrative and characters, the movie failed to live up to its potential.

Sara Ali Khan’s casting as such an iconic figure was a misstep. It stands as one of the biggest miscasts in Bollywood history. Despite having a strong character to portray, Sara failed to capture the nuanced emotions and Usha’s unwavering devotion to her nation.

Supporting Characters and Story

Ae Watan Mere Watan offers a breath of fresh air with its story centered around a young girl’s fervent hope for her nation’s liberation from British oppression. Following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, she courageously launched a radio station to amplify the voice that the authorities aim to suppress.

The film sheds light on the manipulation of media by political forces to maintain control, while also illustrating how individual thought can spark the greatest aspiration: a free and independent India.

While Sara Ali Khan’s performance was weak, the movie was lifted by some outstanding portrayals from supporting actors. Sparsh Srivastava, playing Fahad, along with Emraan Hashmi as Ram Manohar Lohia, and Uday Chandra as Mahatma Gandhi, delivered phenomenal performances in their respective roles.

Amalendu Chaudhary, the cinematographer for the film, brilliantly captured the essence of 1940s India on screen. His commendable work ensured that the film exuded authenticity, accurately depicting the era.

Through meticulous attention to detail in costume and makeup, Ae Watan Mere Watan presented a stripped-down portrayal of freedom fighters, free from glamorization.

Despite the potential the film had, Ae Watan Mere Watan falls short of expectations. Hindered by a lackluster screenplay, cringe-inducing performances from the lead actress, and jarring songs, the overall experience proves underwhelming.

Ae Watan Mere Watan sadly doesn’t stir up much patriotic or heartfelt emotions. Although the 15-minute climax hints at the filmmakers’ aspirations, the movie overall feels lacking. It’s visually appealing, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impact or evoke strong feelings. At times, the film also seems to be promoting Gandhian and Congress ideology.

Whether you like the film or not- there is one thing for which you have to respect the filmmakers: Bringing the story of an unsung hero to light: as despite the bravery and contributions of this woman, majority of us had no idea about her!

For those seeking something patriotic to pass the time or looking for standout performances from supporting actors, Ae Watan Mere Watan is worth a one-time watch.

Rating: 6/10

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