Sardar Review

Karthi impresses in this movie, which focuses on its own adaptation of “The Red Letter” as well as the spy industry.


Language: Tamil
Cast:  Karthi, Rajisha Vijayan, Raashi Khanna, Chunky Panday, Laila
Director: P.S. Mithran

The opening scene of the Karthi-starring film Sardar immediately grabs your attention. A government worker is seen in stunning detail being held at gunpoint on a boat near the India–Bangladesh border. After a loud gunshot, the name of the film is revealed, setting the stage for what seems to be an exciting espionage thriller. But the limits of that interest are being pushed. Sardar’s first act, in which a bridge between the current and the past is established, is its weakest point. Vijay Prakash seems to be a policeman whose primary motivation is to try to move on from the legacy of his father, who has been declared a traitor by a nation’s top intelligence organization, and Sardar is India’s most gifted spy, trained in the 1980s.

In the first act, the story relies on cliches like an over-the-top opening number, a love song, and a series of montage scenes. Only the literary montage succeeds among them. The first two elements do nothing except detract from the tale and make it harder for the audience to focus on what really matters. After Vijay Prakash vows to apprehend a traitor of the country in an effort to erase his legacy, the film begins to gather up speed. Before doing this research, Vijay was completely convinced that his father was a nasty person. After all, according to family legend, his father’s whole family committed suicide. Their deaths merely strengthened the case against his father. The story of his unwavering faith being shaken, the uncertainties that arise throughout his inquiry, and the tests that Vijay’s character faces at this time are all worth telling.

As you peel back this cover, you see a larger conflict at play. A plot against capitalism that holds modern civilization responsible for assigning a monetary value to everything that can be valued. To be sure, it’s justified here. The more we understand this debate, the more it affects us deeply.

Of course, the movie plays into widespread mistrust about China’s political motives in India. However, this turns out to be a positive development for the story. After the first act’s mishap, there are several unanticipated cuts and cutaways that make the film seem like an amateurish effort. As annoying as these parts are, the script as a whole is quite well-written and does a remarkable job of bringing its supporting characters to life. Timmy, the kid, is what takes your mind off of those annoying parts of the film. This young actor nails his part, in contrast to many who are either made to appear too cutesy or too sophisticated for their age. In this story, Rithvik’s character goes on a road trip with Vijay before the latter forms an alliance with Sardar. I recommend teaming up since he contributes more to the elderly guy finishing his thirty-year objective. Vijay watches his father’s life unfold from afar at first, and eventually comes to actively support him.

Up to the very end, Timmy is the only one who knows what Sardar has planned. In a similar vein, his mum Sameera Thomas (Laila) has a fantastic story arc despite having very little screen time. She is, in fact, a defining figure for both Vijay and Sardar. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have multifaceted female protagonists in your espionage thrillers, and Sardar has succeeded where others have failed. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any space for development, however. For example, Rajisha Vijayan’s portrayal left me feeling a little underwhelmed. On the other side, Raashi Khanna has far more screen time, yet she is only a love interest who serves only to further the development of the male protagonist.

If a spy movie is going to be set in the current day, it has to look sleek, modern, and fashionable. The 80s setting of Sardar allows for bloodier and more personal stunt work. Sardar’s methods of infiltrating enemy positions are both creative and straightforward. The film is propelled forward by the protagonist’s willingness to embrace his duty as an undercover officer and the repercussions that come with it (no glory, no honor, no recognition for services performed). With regards to stunts, there is a particularly cool one where Sardar makes use of both electricity and steam. Here, the soundtrack, editing, and images all work harmoniously together. Actually, Sardar is the reason the picture succeeds. The villain, played by Chunky Panday, is positioned to engage in a standard plot device in spy movies. Although not among the most memorable villains of recent years, he is portrayed in the film as little more than a symbol of evil. This film’s main theme reveals that the film’s antagonist is not the typical human villain.

It’s intriguing that there isn’t a big emotional reunion moment at the end of a film that depicts a father and son’s parallel trip, in which their arguments are shown with intercuts and their challenges overlay each other to a great background soundtrack. Instead, we witness Timmy serve as a go-between for this son and his father. That’s kind of like how the authors don’t want to put too much emphasis on their message. They make their case, provide their evidence, and let you determine for yourself where you stand in the annals of history. After an early hitch, the film’s pieces come together to make a compelling whole.

Now running in theatres
Rating: 3/5