Sardar Udham Movie Review: Vicky Kaushal film sparkles but misses soul

Vicky Kaushal plays the lead role in Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham. The film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

It isn’t easy making a biopic or a film inspired by true events. Well, Shoojit Sircar refuses to call Sardar Udham a biopic and it’s obvious why. Sardar Udham’s name might not evoke an immediate memory, as opposed to a Bhagat Singh. And there is very little information about his life and events leading to his martyrdom. Udham wasn’t a mainstream name in the revolutionary fight leading up to Independence, but he was responsible for the one event that changed the course of history as we know it. Sardar Udham assassinated Michael O’Dwyer, who was Punjab’s Lieutenant Governor when the Jallianwala Bagh massacre occurred in Amritsar, on 13 April 1919.

Sardar Udham has Vicky Kaushal play the lead role and take on one of the most complex and challenging roles of his career. The film oscillates between the present and past, giving us flashbacks of what led Udham on his path of vengeance. The Jallianwala Bagh incident serves as a catalyst in Udham’s journey to England where he acts on his instinct and shoots O’Dwyer point-blank. But Shoojit’s movie is not about this stand-alone incident. In fact, the first hour or so of the film introduces us to Udham, his friends, the early influences in his life. There is also a cameo by Amol Parashar who plays Bhagat Singh, perhaps the only other name apart from O’Dwyer that’s etched in our history pages.


Udham’s journey in the pre-Independence days, leading up to his imprisonment, hearing and then death by hanging is all chronicled from a single point of view – his mind. The first hour of the film opens the floodgates to what it must have been like to be so angry, frustrated and obsessed with rage to follow one’s instincts, travel across the sea, use every possible help to seek the ultimate revenge.

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