This Neena Gupta and Arjun Kapoor starrer has an interesting premise, but is let down by a narrative filled with clichés
If you can’t help grandmother revisit her home, move the home to where she is. That one line sums up the storyline of Sardar ka Grandson. The grandmother is Sardar Rupinder Kaur (Neena Gupta), a nonagenarian who is keen to revisit her home in Lahore, which she had to flee during Partition.
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Decades on, the wounds of Partition linger… Memories of life on the other side of the border, and day-to-day life as it existed before religion and national boundaries drove a wedge into neighbourhoods. The uprooting of families meant losing a piece of one’s heart, and rarely does one find closure to unhealed wounds.
Sardar ka Grandson
- Cast: Neena Gupta, Arjun Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh
- Direction: Kaashvie Nair
- Streaming on: Netflix
The grandson who tries to give her a new homecoming experience is Amreek (Arjun Kapoor). Amreek who now lives in America, understands Sardar Kaur’s emotional vacuum because he has just broken up with his business partner and fiancé Radha (Rakul Preet Singh).
The attempt to make Sardar ka Grandson a light-hearted comedy that still tugs at your heartstrings falls midway with neither the jokes standing out nor the emotional side of the story explored effectively.
The depiction of a crazy, fun Punjabi family led by the hot-headed Sardar and her children and grandchildren concerned over power games and squabbles for property and ownership of the family-run cycle company also doesn’t cut it.
There are fun moments, like Sardar’s monologue with her pet dog and a granddaughter filming it. As Sardar, Neena Gupta tries to breathe life into the proceedings. She loves her stiff drink and her temper refuses to diminish with age, all this is a cakewalk for Neena Gupta. But what can Sardar do as the story gets increasingly ‘filmy’?
The fact that Amreek works in a logistics company (called ‘Gently Gently’) comes in handy when he thinks of moving the Lahore home to Amritsar. Even more convenient is how Radha appears at the right time to make things happen.
Predictably, hurdles are stacked in the way of Amreek’s mission and the characters include a police officer and a city mayor. The actual uprooting and transportation of the house itself gets less focus than bureaucratic hurdles. Along the way, someone mentions that Amreek is trying to do a Sunny Deol and calls his mission filmy.
Though initially, the film seems to be able to laugh at itself and the clichés in Hindi films, it soon spirals into a series of predictable tropes.
The performances all around are adequate but don’t shine and it perhaps has to do with the material that doesn’t raise the bar. Even the young tea seller in Pakistan is a character that isn’t fleshed out enough.
Aditi Rao Hydari as young Sardar is charming in her stubbornness and innocence, accompanied by John Abraham.
Sardar ka Grandson could have been a heart-warming story of memories and finding closure, but it ends up like a half-cooked aloo paratha without butter.
(Sardar ka Grandson is streaming on Netflix)