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GADAR 2 - Heavily relies upon nostalgia with all similar elements of the original, following the exact format of the typical, good old Hindi Cinema. (Movie Notes by Bobby Sing)

13 Aug, 2023 | Movie Reviews / 2023 Releases / Just In

When GADAR and LAGAAN came on the same Friday almost a quarter of a century back, I had not yet started writing reviews but was into penning short synopsis for DVD covers and online video libraries. However, even in those initial years of writing, I had said that apart from their great soundtracks, while LAGAAN had a lot of qualitative elements in its creation, GADAR had something else beyond such technical qualities of cinema. 
Aamir was yet not 'The perfectionist Aamir' at that time but Sunny Deol had a huge fan following including the vast interiors. So even when GADAR was not anything close to LAGAAN in terms of craft, it managed to score more because it successfully established a much stronger emotional connection with its audience, focusing on a roaring, over-the-top action with a powerful patriotic tone that looked like an extension of Sunny Deol as a Sikh post-BORDER of 1997.
The story remains the same even after 22 years as GADAR2 arrives with all similar elements of its original and does not even try to deviate from the typical format of the good old Hindi cinema, more enjoyed by the common man on the single screens. The thought of presenting the sequel in the same old style can also be looked upon as Anil Sharma’s revolt against the present questionable filmmaking and exhibition (read selling) of the new millennium.
If you simply wish to know the result, then as expected Sharma does not come up with any great pathbreaking sequel, but he has also not delivered any awful film. The director was very clear about his viewers or target audience and he conceived the film simply for them, ignoring everything else, playing a sensible gamble. Because while the people who had watched the original are still there, Anil could never be sure of the next generation - how they will be responding to any innovation or deviation. So, he simply targeted the same audience who had watched the original upon its release and made an even louder film for them, defying all the logic.
Hence, the first thing you need to do before watching GADAR2 is to agree not to ask any questions about border crossing options, passport-visa regulations, how the military operates, and much more during the screening. Otherwise, you will remain stuck at that and would not be able to move further. In other words, GADAR2 can only be watched (read enjoyed) if you can go through it going back to the 80s-90s style of movie watching with no questions asked.
The film begins by spending good 40 minutes in introductions of characters and 2-3 songs continuing with the storyline of the original. It then comes up with a winner action sequence presenting the tough Sunny Deol as the truck driver helping the military officials. This is the best part of the film raising the bar and making one expect Anil Sharma might be having more similar things in store in the next 100 minutes. 
Sadly, that doesn’t turn out to be true and GADAR2 finishes right there in that sequence in terms of novelty. Post this, the film offers the same old cross-border romance, the same kind of story development, clashes, narrow escapes, the same good-hearted neighbours, and all similar action sequences as if the writers were told to repeat the same pattern. Particularly post-intermission, the film has nothing but pure action with the father and son getting parted more than once in the narrative.
While for many this all might be enjoyable action, for others it would be a loud noise and nothing else. For me, it was an average mix with the noise repeatedly taking over, right till the end. On second thoughts, I lost major interest after the first action sequence that indeed had the energy and thrill expected from the long-awaited sequel. Also, maybe because Sunny completely vanishes from the screen for a long time post his first fight, only to return before the intermission and then continuously roar in the second half. But that was expected. After all, as a father, Sharma had to give mileage to his son playing the lead along with Deol.
Further stating the merits, shortcomings, and the changes found in the sequel made after two decades, GADAR2 releases in a completely different scenario, and what better timing could be for a Pakistan bashing film offering a lot to cheer to the enthusiastic viewers of the new WhatsApp era.
The pleasant insertions in the film are the songs that have almost vanished from Hindi cinema in their original length of 3-4 minutes. While the two recreated songs (Uttam Singh) make you nostalgic, the new tracks (Mithoon) are also soothing, melodious, calmly arranged and well-written. Sample the line “Phir se ik baar bikhar jaate hain, chal tere ishq mein pad jaate hain” by Saeed Qaadri. This is simply a gem straight away reminding you of the melodious 90s. 
Plus, it is a treat to hear Sukhwinder’s voice in the background singing a Shabad providing a perfect build-up. Unfortunately, singers like Sukhwinder and Sonu Nigam are not being given songs due to various lobbies and internal politics, which is a pity for the industry. Interestingly just like the recent ROCKY AUR RANI KI PREM KAHANI, here too we get to hear a few old classics played in the backdrop of romantic scenes. 
To be fair, GADAR2 has a soundtrack with songs that once used to be the key feature of our Hindi Cinema, forcibly incorporated in the screenplay. No doubt for the new generation, 4-5 songs coming before the intermission would be too many to bear, but that is what Hindi films were known for, once upon a time.
For the viewers who watched the original film in its majestic glory, the irreplaceable Amrish Puri is seriously missed and so is Vivek Shauq. After such a long gap, with the small kid growing into a college-going boy, at least Sunny-Ameesha should have got partial grey hair representing their age. But Sharma continues with his at-your-face cinematic liberties in the film and does not care about that. 
In this new version, at one end a Gurbani Shabad is included, then on the other ancient Shalokas are also chanted representing the changing times. The term Hindu is added before Hindustani in several places and the new Tara Singh is now mercilessly brutal and finds no harm to use an innocent kid to save his son. Continuing the same faulty tone and visual, the Punjabi language is as usual neither authentic nor spoken in the right manner.
Sunny plays it impressively and it is needless to mention that it is his film from start to finish. He rules the screen in his action sequences and the fans are going to have a blast in the theatre. Ameesha Patel is just there. Both Simrat Kaur and Utkarsh Sharma provide good support. Wonder why Sharma did not think of introducing his son with this movie instead of GENIUS (2018). Manish Wadhwa tries his best to generate hate, very well knowing that he cannot do it better than Amrish Puri, but Gaurav Chopra suits the role of a military officer. The supporting cast is typically there to support Sunny on screen and it does that without leaving an impact.
Lastly coming to the hand pump, I would like to mention how that is viewed by two different kinds of audiences in the theatre. As soon as the camera focuses on the hand pump alone on the huge cinemascope screen, you get to hear cheers, shouts, and laughs together. Exactly the case of two generations watching it as mentioned in the beginning. While the loyal fans since the 80s-90s loudly cheer at the shot of Sunny and hand-pump together, the ones probably born after the original release find it laughable and worth mocking. But the overall response in the theatre at this one specific scene should reveal to the new-age filmmakers how they have lost the vision of a larger-than-life hero of Hindi cinema in their race of making realistic and relatable films about middle-class families and their small-town stories.
Overall, GADAR2 has been made with a vision to repeat the success story of the original, recreating many similar situations and sequences. So, you will be disappointed if you expect to see something novel and fresh. The film has its merits of a better first half and a praiseworthy soundtrack. But otherwise, it is a mixed bag which will turn out to be as per your expectations. That said, this would surely provide precious nostalgic moments to those who have witnessed the enigma around the original GADAR in 2001.
Rating : 2.5 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for its well-conceived soundtrack without any heavy arrangements.) 

Note: One of the posters of the film with Sunny lifting a big wheel, strongly reminds you of a similar poster of Amitabh Bachchan’s AAJ KA ARJUN (1990) 

Tags : GADAR2 Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing
13 Aug 2023 / Comment ( 0 )
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