Meghna Gulzar’s 150-minute film, Sam Bahadur, brings to life the vibrant and illustrious career of the legendary Sam Manekshaw, the first Indian Army officer promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. The film captures pivotal moments in his personal and professional journey, with a particular focus on his charismatic leadership during critical periods in Indian history. Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal of Manekshaw stands out as a testament to his acting prowess, delivering a performance that is both challenging and flawless.
The film opens with a powerful scene where Sam Bahadur, played by Kaushal, strides away from his disheartened soldiers after delivering an inspiring address. This moment encapsulates the admiration and reverence his men feel, setting the tone for the biopic. However, the film grapples with being excessively declamatory, with background music at times overpowering the significant events and towering personalities on screen. Despite this, Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal remains a towering presence throughout the film.
Manekshaw’s life is portrayed with a blend of romance, resilience, and military strategy. His winsome romance with Silloo, played by Sanya Malhotra, adds a human touch to the narrative, showcasing the man behind the military legend. Sanya brings a much-needed emotional resonance to the film and effectively conveys the emotional turmoil inside a human being. She is vital to the film’s overall appeal and has managed to leave a lasting impact despite the film being heavily focused on Sam Manekshaw.
The film effectively captures Manekshaw’s resilience during his stint in Burma in the Second World War, highlighting his miraculous recovery and the accolades that followed. The political landscape of the time, particularly the 1971 war, becomes a central focus, showcasing Manekshaw’s pivotal role in strategizing against the Pakistan army.
Sam Bahadur portrays Mrs. Indira Gandhi, portrayed by Fatima Sana Shaikh, as a strong leader unafraid to make tough decisions, contrasting with an indecisive Nehru, played by Kabi. Fatima aces her role with perfection, and there is nothing more one could have asked from her in the film.
However, the political dynamics featuring key figures like Sardar Patel and other Cabinet members lack the impactful execution needed to engage the audience fully.
Vicky Kaushal’s performance as Sam Manekshaw is a standout element, capturing the essence of the charismatic leader without veering into caricature. His nuanced portrayal, with twinkling eyes and a bristling mustache, adds depth to the character, making it a compelling on-screen presence.
Despite some shortcomings in pacing and impact, Sam Bahadur succeeds in paying tribute to a military icon. Meghna Gulzar’s direction, coupled with Vicky Kaushal’s stellar performance, elevates the film beyond its narrative challenges. The film serves as an admirable attempt to bring the life and legacy of Sam Manekshaw to the forefront, offering audiences a glimpse into the valour, charm, and strategic brilliance that defined the Field Marshal’s remarkable career.
In conclusion, Sam Bahadur is a commendable biopic that navigates through the highs and lows of Sam Manekshaw’s life, showcasing moments of romance, resilience, and strategic brilliance. While grappling with some narrative challenges, the film shines through Vicky Kaushal’s impeccable portrayal and Meghna Gulzar’s direction, creating a cinematic tribute to one of India’s most celebrated military leaders.
Sam Bahadur Movie