Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Review: Bland & Boring Biographical Drama

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Review: Bland & Boring Biographical Drama

Movie: Swatantrya Veer Savarkar
Rating: 2.5/5

Cast: Randeep Hooda, Ankita Lokhande, Amit Sial, Rajesh Khera
Music: Vipin Patwa, Mathias Duplessy, Sandesh Shandilya
DOP: Arvind Krishna
Editor: Rajesh G. Pandey
Writer, Screenplay, Dialogues: Utkarsh Naithani, Randeep Hooda
Director: Randeep Hooda
Producers: Randeep Hooda, Zee Studios, Anand Pandit, Sandeep Singh
Duration: 2h 58m
Release Date: March 22, 2024

What makes Savarkar's biopic interesting? He is one of the most prominent Indian freedom fighters, dubbed the Dangerous Man by the British and honoured with the title "Veer" by Indian revolutionaries.

Yet, he remains unsung, with his plight and fight unknown to many. This is what makes Savarkar's story intriguing.

The film, which marks Randeep Hooda's directorial debut, releases in cinemas on March 22.

Let's explore how it was made, its strengths, and weaknesses.

After witnessing his father's death during a plague outbreak, young Savarkar aspires to become a freedom fighter and embraces revolution.

He establishes the Abhinav Bharat Society with the goal of freeing the country from British rule and creating Akhanda Bharat.

Savarkar's journey to London to study law turns his life. His journey to France and his ending up in jail make for a significant part of the film.

The film focuses on Savarkar's ideology, struggles in prison, and political career.

Artists' Performance:
Randeep Hooda immerses himself in the role of Savarkar, breathing life into the character with a remarkable physical transformation, particularly in jail scenes. His performance is flawless. While he scores points, the film works in parts and falters otherwise. 

Ankita Lokhande's portrayal of Yamunabai Savarkar, VD Savarkar’s wife, feels underutilized, with limited dialogue and screen time.

Amit Sial's depiction of Ganesh Damodar Savarkar and British actor Russell Geoffrey Banks' portrayal of David Barry leave an impact.

The supporting cast does their parts well.

Despite strong performances, the film's lengthy narration and ineffective direction diminish its overall impact.

Technical Excellence:
While the film boasts a powerful story and authentic setting, weak direction hampers its potential. Drama alone is insufficient to leave a lasting impression.

The visuals and compelling background score contribute to the film's atmosphere, but its length detracts from its merits.

Editing requires fine-tuning, with several unnecessary scenes needing to be trimmed for a better viewing experience.

Authenticity and Historical Elements
Randeep Hooda's Performance
Kaala Paani Scenes

Lengthy and Slow Narration
Linear Screenplay
Ineffective Direction
Second Half

It is election season, making it the perfect timing for ideological films. "Veer Savarkar" attempts to capitalize on this moment. Right from the outset, the film relies on an authentic setup, staying true to the real story and appearing as an honest attempt.

The first half delves into Savarkar's plans for freedom and revolution, depicting his journey to London, then France, and ultimately to prison. Despite a plain interval block, it manages to pique curiosity.

However, it's the second half that plays spoilsport as the film takes a nosedive. The political career of Savarkar takes liberties, with the director, Randeep, relying on dialogues lacking substance or depth instead of raising the bar.

The brutal prison scenes in the Andaman Islands (Kaala Paani punishment) leave an impact and evoke sympathy. For those unaware of history, it's intriguing to learn about the brutal treatment of political prisoners in the British era and the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. However, it's all narrated blandly, resembling a history class.

The voice-over narration and one-man show test patience as the story stagnates. Several unnecessary scenes need editing, and due to Savarkar's dominance, other characters are sidelined.

Episodes depicting Savarkar's meetings with Bhagat Singh and Subash Chandra Bose, taking inspiration from Savarkar, lack historical evidence and blend with fiction. Portraying Mahatma Gandhi negatively is bold, potentially not sitting well with many viewers due to ideological differences with Savarkar.

Overall, "Savarkar" could be a better film with tighter editing and a crisper narrative. The excessive length and slow, boring narration diminish the overall impact, undermining Randeep Hooda's performance and physical transformation efforts. Nonetheless, it's not entirely skippable. If interested in Savarkar's story and hardline Hindu ideology, one might endure this three-hour film. Alternatively, if released as an OTT series or in two parts with tighter pacing, "Savarkar" could reach a broader audience and be more successful.

Bottom Line: A Solid Story Hindered by Weak Narration