Thursday, May 30, 2024

Film Review: Swatantrya Veer Savarkar – Randeep Hooda’s Bold Biopic Stuns Audiences

Robin Bhuyan

Bollywood has been producing lots of biopics in the last 5-6 years, and the next one we have is Swatantrya Veer Savarkar, which is Randeep Hooda’s first movie as a director, where he also plays the lead role of the famous revolutionary and freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. The film chronicles the life of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar from his early days as a student to his contributions as a freedom fighter, which eventually leads to India’s freedom.

When it comes to historical movies, whether it is Bollywood, or Hollywood, filmmakers generally try to make the film as politically correct as possible.  This is something you will not see in Swatantrya Veer Savarkar. We have already seen several movies on Gandhi, as well as multiple movies on other revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose. But there has been only one movie made on Savarkar, in 2001, but unfortunately, it was mostly forgotten. Maybe it was not very technically sound. Lack of well-known actors in the film would be another reason.

The new 2024 film Swatantrya Veer Savarkar unapologetically shows the life of Savarkar, his contributions, his ideology, the torture he endured at Kaalapani prison, as well as his complicated relationship with MK Gandhi, played by actor Rajesh Khera. Rarely do we see such cinema where they don’t shy away from showing the history that they never taught us in school textbooks. Whether you are a fan of Gandhi or not, it is undeniable that the contributions of many freedom fighters other than Gandhi and Nehru, are hardly talked about in our school textbooks. The film tries to put a question mark on this narrative that we have been hearing since our childhoods- that it was Gandhi and Nehru who had given us freedom. The film unapologetically shows the torture our freedom fighters went through, and does not hesitate in openly showing the cruelty of the British. The film also openly states that freedom is something that must be fought for, and it is not something that you can just gain by “fasting” or trying to please your enemy.

If we talk about the performances, Randeep Hooda has obviously given the best performance of his entire career. He has completely immersed himself in the character of Savarkar, and it will feel like as if you are actually seeing him on the big screen. Even the actors playing the roles of Gandhi and Bose did quite a commendable job, and sometimes you might feel as if you are actually seeing these historical figures on the big screen. On top of that, the screenplay is quite engaging, and there is not a single instance where you might feel that the film is going too slow.

Needless to say, people who disagree with Savarkar might find few scenes problematic. In one scene, Savarkar is the one who is shown to be the person who inspired Bose to quit Congress, and start forming the INA. Well, Veer Savarkar was definitely not a perfect individual, and you need not agree with his ideology, but as a freedom fighter, his contribution could not and should not be undermined.

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar is definitely one of the best biopics that Bollywood has given us, with one of the best acting performances by an actor ever! But the only question is – Is there a political reason the film was released just before the Lok Sabha elections?

Rating – 9 out of 10 stars

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