Sadiyaan: Partition Revisited…
By MovieTalkies.com, 02 April 2010
It's a sentimental journey down memory lane, with some old fashioned story telling. Raj Kanwar's 'Sadiyaan' is the kind of film which would have probably gone down very well had it been made even a decade ago. But guess what, the director still manages to tell a fairly engaging story and create some moving moments. What gives this film its moments of dignity is the presence of veterans like Hema Malini, Rekha and Rishi Kapoor, who manage to strike a chord with their characterisation.
The film recreates the Partition and its accompanying trauma as families get displaced and people lose their loved ones. Rajvir (Rishi Kapoor) and his wife Amrit (Rekha) are just one such couple who flee to Amritsar after losing their only son. Here in India, they make their home in an old 'haveli' which was abandoned by its Muslim owners. But that was not the only thing that the owners left behind. They also left behind their infant son, who Rajvir and Amrit bring up as their own.
Years pass by and the boy, Ishaan (Luv Sinha) grows up to be a fine young man. He falls in love with a Muslim girl, Chandni (Ferena Wazeir) during a trip to Kashmir. The girl's family is not ready to accept a Hindu boy for their daughter. That's when Amrit and Rajvir decide to search for their son's biological parents, who were Muslims, so that there would no opposition to his wedding.
The couple, played by Hema Malini and Javed Shaikh, arrive from Pakistan and are overjoyed at finding their lost son, who they had given up for dead. But Ishaan is not willing to accept them as his parents. He goes through the wedding, little realising that his parents would want to take his bride and him back to Lahore.
Even though the prospect is heartbreaking for Rajvir and Amrit, they put on a brave face for Ishaan's sake. But in the end, it all turns out very well, though not without the mandatory dramatic sobbing fest, of course.
While on the face of it, the film's story is quite engaging, it does seem to have its share of clichés. All the stuff that we have seen before, about the mother son love, the sixties and seventies style romance between the young protagonists, and the self sacrificing fest between the foster and biological mother, all show up unfailingly.
The film works to a degree and it is mostly because of the presence of the veterans who lend it grace and dignity. Even though, they are playing clichéd characters, the trio (Hema, Rishi and Rekha) lend an air of sincerity to the proceedings with their restrained performances.
While Rekha revels in the high pitched histrionics, Hema invests her role with a lot of serenity and the final sacrifice on her part in the end comes across quite effectively. Rekha has the meatier role and she digs into it in her quintessential style and sails through the dramatic scenes with ease. Rishi is, as always, a treat to watch as he seems to exercise the minimum effort to create the maximum impact.
And now for the two debutants. There is not too much good news in store for them, unfortunately. Luv Sinha tries hard and seems to be quite at ease in the dramatic scenes, but does not have a very impressive screen personality, unlike his father, Shatrughan Sinha. He lacks the trappings of a typical Hindi film hero and will have to think seriously about his choice of films. Ferena has a certain charming quality about her, but has little scope to showcase her acting skills in this movie.
The film's music, especially the title track, all go well with the mood of the movie. Kanwar seems to be stuck in a time warp which reflects in his storytelling style, but he does seem to be quite at ease and a master at his genre. He handles the emotional scenes quite well and pens dialogues which are quite effective.
It would have been great if he could have been a little more original in his approach even though the bit about Hindu Muslim unity and cross border friendship, is laudable and welcome in tumultuous times like ours. The real problem with a film like this is that one finds it a little difficult to relate to it in 2010. Old fashioned fare in a jet setting age…