Monday, February 7, 2011

Comment on Gadar Review

In my opinion, Gadar should be looked at from two different perspectives. Firstly, it is a period film that depicts the atrocities experienced during the partition in 1947. Secondly, it is a love story. I think it is easier to critique the film when broken down into these two subsets. As a period film, Gadar does an incredible job of portraying the horrors people on both sides of the border had to go through. One of the most striking images throughout the movie, as the reviewer noted, is the one of trains full of corpses pulling into the station. It's almost as if Anil Sharma telling his audience “Yes, this actually happened.” The chaos that broke loose with the partition is captured perfectly in Gadar. Additionally, the flashback scene shows us how harmonious the past before partition was. Visually, Gadar shows us, without any sugarcoating, the tragedy that was the partition of India.
In comparison, I think that the love story aspect of Gadar was lacking in some ways. Even though it is an inspiring story about an unlikely pair making it against all odds, I felt it was somewhat unoriginal. The formula of “boy and girl fall in love and have to overcome an obstacle (parents, status, religion etc)” is all too overdone in Bollywood. My criticism is only about the overall direction that the love story headed in. I still enjoyed the details within the love story itself. One part I really enjoyed is when Sakina is getting chased in the railway station and she hides behind Tara. When the mob condemns Tara for protecting a Muslim, he paints his blood on her forehead, signifying that she was now his wife. Then he says “Now she is Sikh”. When we find out later on in the flashback that Tara knew Sakina prior to that incident, this act shows us not only the love that Tara had for Sakina, but also the ends to which he would go to protect her.
I found that Gadar was similar to Amar Akbar Anthony in one way. That is, it makes its point but does so underneath a masala film exterior. Granted, the point about atrocities experienced by people because of the partition is made quite clear, contrary to Amar Akbar Anthony's more implicit message. Still, this movie incorporates masala elements to a movie about much more, so as to stir more interest from the Indian movie- going population. For example, the reviewer notes that some of the fight scenes seem rather unrealistic, and that Sunny Deol seems to sometimes exhibit superhuman strength against his enemies. Also mentioned was the silly slapstick humor that seemes to confuse the direction of the movie. However, this would not faze any regular Indian movie- goer. Masala films, draw almost directly from what the people want to see. So if observed from within the context of the audience that this movie is being catered to, these elements do not take away from the movie. In fact, without these elements I am willing to bet this movie would not have made for a Bollywood blockbuster.