Film: “Chaar Sahibzaade: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur”; Director: Harry Baweja; Voiceover: Om Puri; Rating: **1/2
This motion capture animation film, is a historical faith film. It takes off from its prequel — the 2004 released film “Chaar Sahibzaade” and yet, is holistic by itself.
Going back in history, nearly 350 years ago, the film recaps the lives of Sahibzaade Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh — the four brave sons of the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and then proceeds to narrate the epic tale of Banda Singh Bahadur, one of the greatest warriors in Sikh history.
Narrated in a non-linear fashion, the film reveals, how after the death of his sons, Guru Gobind Singh meets an ascetic named Madho Das and takes him as his disciple, in a monastery at Nanded, on the banks of river Godavari.
The Guru renames Madho Das as Banda Singh Bahadur and with his blessings, urges him to protect the Sikhs. How Banda Singh Bahadur assembles a fighting force and leads the struggle against the Mughal Empire, forms the crux of the tale.
The script, credited to Harman and Harry Baweja, is replete with history, but not without its fair share of flaws. It is also packed with the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh. With no onscreen gore, the screenplay ensures to be audience sensitive.
Technically, Harry Baweja’s direction is placid. He lacks the passion in his storytelling and it shows. The pace of the storyline drags, as the exposition is verbose in the form of a narrative voice over lent by ace actor Om Puri whose distinct, non-dramatic tone is apt for the subject. Ironically, the writing also quotes Rabindranath Tagore.
The film is inspiring. The design and creation of the animation along with its 3D effects, are first rate for a Hindi film and worth a mention. Each frame is attractive and impressive.
The music seamlessly integrates into the narrative and the background score elevates the viewing experience. Sukwinder Singh, Diljit Dosanjh and Amrinder Gill with their mellifluous voices beautifully render the ardas or prayers along with the hymns.
Overall, this epic story will appeal only to Sikhs and those who have a keen interest in history.
By Troy Ribeiro