Ever since its direct-to-digital premiere on 16th October, 2021, on Amazon Prime Video, fans started demanding that Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham (2021) be India’s official entry to the 94th Academy Awards. The biographical drama was even shortlisted in the list of 14 films before they it lost to Tamil drama Koozhangal (Pebbles) as the country’s entry to the Oscars 2022 in the Best International Feature Film category.
Days after Koozhangal became India’s official entry for Oscars, jury members have explained why Sardar Udham left behind in the race. Talking about the film, Indraadip Dasgupta, a member of the jury that decided upon the official entry for Oscars, said, that the film ‘portrays our hatred towards the British’.
“Sardar Udham is a little lengthy and harps on the Jallianwala Bagh incident. It is an honest effort to make a lavish film on an unsung hero of the Indian freedom struggle. But in the process, it again projects our hatred towards the British. In this era of globalization, it is not fair to hold on to this hatred,” Dasgupta told a publication.
Another member of the jury, Sumit Basu, also said, “Many have loved Sardar Udham for its cinematic quality including camerawork, editing, sound design, and depiction of the period. I thought the length of the film was an issue. It has a delayed climax. It takes a lot of time for a viewer to feel the real pain for the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.”
For the uninitiated, Sardar Udham traces the life and struggles of Indian revolutionary and freedom fighter Sardar Udham Singh, best known for assassinating Michael O’Dwyer in retaliation for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. Singh shot O’Dwyer at Caxton Hall in London when the latter was to speak at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society.
The reason behind not selecting Sardar Udham as India’s official entry to the Oscars has not gone down well with fans.
One of the fans wrote on Twitter, “‘Not hold on to this hatred’? Of course, we won’t, if you promise to not hold on to Kohinoor and the approximately $45 trillion that was robbed from India.”
Another one wrote, “Isn’t it casting reality? What if it was a movie on World War 1 or 2 …you would reject it because it depicts the reality of Hitler’s Germany?”
The film stars National Film Award-winning actor Vicky Kaushal in the titular role of Sardar Udham Singh. It is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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Tags: Sardar Udham, Shoojit Sircar, Vicky Kaushal, Amazon Prime Video