Sunday, November 18, 2012

NEW: Son of Sardaar: Masala not at its best

Synopsis: London-living NRI Jaswinder “Jassi” Singh Randhawa (Ajay Devgn) goes to Phagwara, Punjab, to sell his family property after his parents die. Turns out his dad and another man killed each other there years ago, and the other man’s family, the Sadhus, have been waiting 25 years to find Jassi and kill him. Oops. Guess that makes it pretty awkward that he fell in love with their sister/cousin/niece Sukh (Sonakshi Sinha) on the train. To make matters worse, Jassi is already in their house as a guest — and of course “guests are God” — ingratiating himself to the women of the house like Pammi (Juhi Chawla!), when they find out. And of course honor says you can’t kill a guest in your house, so Billu (Sanjay Dutt) and the men of the family must wait for Jassi to step outside the house — but of course, he knows better.

Thoughts, though they be brief and scattered:

Juhi Chawla, why don’t we get to see you more often anymore? I love you. That is all.

Hai Allah -- Juhi Chawla!

Ajay Devgn plays a bit of a goofball in this movie. Jassi turns out smart and inhumanly strong in the end — he is a sardar, after all — but he spends most of the movie as a bit of a bumbling idiot who escapes death and scrapes by dumb luck. Normally I find dorks and goofballs endearing — I do love Abhishek Bachchan, after all — but Ajay-as-goofball? Not so much. I was not buying it and not digging it, except in rare moments (like Raja Rani).

The one moment where I thought d'aw, what an adorable goofball.

Ajay has never been one of my favorites, but I’ve liked his recent masala movies. Maybe that’s because he can play a badass, slightly nutty do-gooder (i.e., Singham, Prithviraj in Bol Bachchan). In humor, Ajay is usually the straight man. And that works. Quite well. (I point you to Bol Bachchan as a point of reference.) Goofball, not so much (and from my initial experiences with watching him, romantic hero also not so much).

Also, heaven forgive me for casting stones, but part of me thought “If Ajay was a real Punjabi, he’d actually be able to dance!” (And yes, I say this with full knowledge that his family probably is Punjabi.)

I think I liked Sonakshi Sinha’s character more in this movie than I liked Sonakshi’s performance in this movie. The character of Sukh is full of that spunk that filmi artisans love to infuse Punjabi girls with. But Sonakshi rushes almost unintelligibly through most of her lines, hardly having time or inflection to give them the punch they deserve.

Sukh rides in to save Jassi. A welcome bit of spunk!

Also a welcome point: The end of the movie basically gives the impression that the women — Pammi and Bebeji — rule the household, despite the fact that Sanjay Dutt plays a rather oppressive family patriarch.

And speaking of Sanjay Dutt… As usual, not a fan. I’ll leave it at that.

This is masala and you should expect absurd, over-the-top heroics. But mostly you have to wait for those until the end of the movie. Most of it is a drawn out, boring song-and-dance about Jassi trying to avoid leaving the house.

Also, you want laughs from masala, right? I found them mostly lacking here. A laugh squeezed in here or there. But mostly things that just make you go “ugh” at the failed attempts at humor.

Alas, if only this tagline had proved true and the movie had been funny.

So, sum total: It’s masala not at its best.

Now I see why you couldn’t book your share of single screens, Ajay. It’s got nothing to do with YRF. It’s that your movie, well, kind of sucks.


  1. The director has made a remake of the Telugu movie "Maryada Ramanna" with a fastidious reverence for the Bollywood audience, not adding any Telugu taste into the movie, with the addition of Sardar ishtyle in the movie. Of course, most of the viewers would find it unrealistic, and unimaginatively impractical, on the contrary, it is just a movie for an entertainment purpose.! :) But .. try to think about the "JUST IMAGINE" phrase !!!! ;) Do not go to the movie with high expectations to learn about sardars in the movie. Just enjoy the movie!! It would fetch you entertainment, 100% entertainment.! :)

    1. Oh, I'm well aware that it's entertainment just for entertainment's sake... It is masala, after all! And I didn't really go with any expectations or knowing anything about the movie... But I still didn't find it that great. Didn't make me laugh enough. :/

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