She is Sardar, a 90 year old Sikh woman who communicates via iPad, runs her multi-million cycle business, is forward thinking to bring on new designs and is attached to her Lahore roots.
He is Grandson, a 30 something man who interacts in video calls, aspires to be a CEO of his granny’s business, doesn’t find much takers for his ideas, but promises to bring Lahore to India.
Together, they dream of doing something impossible, something which has been unheard of, unseen and unprecedented (well, at least when it comes to cross-country rendezvous).
In a way, this was also one impossible dream that first time director Kaashvi Nair must have carried when she chose to tell a story like this for screen. After all, it may have sounded rather preposterous to narrate the story of a grandson who decides to uproot the ‘pushtaini makaan’ from Lahore all the way to Amritsar because that’s the wish that his grandmother carries. However, she chooses to be adventurous, picks on the mantle and puts together a film in record time when pandemic situation threatened to put all set plans on hold.
Just for the brave set that she decided to take with her producers Nikkhil Advani (also her mentor) and John Abraham (also appearing in a special appearance) backing her up, she deserves some brownie points for herself. Yes, the film does have some lax moments in there, especially at the beginning and then towards the end. Also, the film could have been at least 15 minutes shorter than its little over 2 hour length. However, by and large the film manages to hold and that’s the good part about this family film that is currently streaming at Netflix.
In a way, this one is actually an OTT friendly film since it makes for an easy watch and can be given a leisurely viewing by the audiences across age groups. A really rare outing where there is no cuss word, no nudity, no violence and no discomforting moment, Sardar Ka Grandson scores in the relatability factor as it has a universal appeal to it. After all, who wouldn’t like to watch a heartwarming story of an old woman and her grandson who had shirked responsibilities so far but now wants to make it all right.
The film too has several right moments in there. Though the film starts off on a shaky ground (the opening sequence featuring Arjun Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh, with both running a Movers & Packers company in Los Angeles just doesn’t register), things get better once drama shifts to Punjab. You get a sense of Patiala House kind of narrative that Nikkhil Advani had adopted back in time and Kaashvi takes it forward by introducing the family members [Kanwaljit Singh, Soni Razdan, Divya Seth, to name a few].
However, the tone is set by a drinking session between Neena Gupta and Arjun Kapoor, from where audience is also introduced to her back story from 1946-47. Aditi Rao Hydari appears in the younger avtar with John Abraham as her husband, and together they are truly adorable. In fact it won’t be wrong to say that their appearance together three or four times in the film really brings on many heart touching moments, with a brief action sequence featuring John emerging as a ‘paisa vasool’ moment.
That said, things continue to move at an easy pace with Arjun Kapoor along with Rakul Preet Singh designing ways to accomplish the impossible. There is a sense of Bajrangi Bhaijaan deja vu too coming into play and while Kumud Mishra is at his reliable best as an egoistic Lahore mayor, there isn’t real sense of villainy in there which would make the mood somber.
This is the reason why go with the flow and even though you expect the culmination of the tale to be faster than it eventually turns out to be, you don’t really mind that. Yes, the climax seems to be a bit stretched and the sequence towards the end could have been trimmed. Still, since the intentions are right in place for this film which also has good placement of music by Tanishk Bagchi with short-n-sweet songs interspersed into the narrative, you are fine with what you see.
Watch it for the endearing acts by Arjun Kapoor and Neena Gupta, and also the fact that Kaashvi Nair decided to dream something different, and you would find it a heartwarming affair.