Sam Bahadur — Loved The Character, Didn’t Care Much About The Movie

His life story should have been made into a movie trilogy

Abhishek Sainani
Movie Over Matter
3 min readDec 11, 2023

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Photo Source: IMDb movie poster

My wife’s parents were not aware of this movie. When we told them briefly about the movie, they readily agreed. “If it is about the army then we are always interested in that movie,” was her father’s reply. I was happy to hear that, after all, this movie is about the greatest military general of Independent India who not only won many battles and the crucial war of 1971 against Pakistan but also prepared a strong foundation for Indian soldiers for generations to come. Anything about Sam Manekshaw deserves respect and recognition.

I liked the trailer of the movie. I saw it on my laptop and later also on the big screen. The background score of the movie truly enhances the key moments in the trailer, and does the same in the movie as well. Vicky Kaushal as Sam Manekshaw was impeccable in his performance and he alone made the trailer exciting and the audience eager to watch the movie. Hope the National Award jury doesn’t snub him this time.

Sadly, he alone made the movie worth watching. Apart from some moments in which Zeeshan Ayub and Sanya Malhotra get to shine with their on-point performances, no other actor or character seems impressive. My father and my wife’s father, both were disappointed with the portrayal of both Nehru and his daughter Indira in the movie. Both commented that Indira was much more decisive and assertive than was shown in the movie. Was this done to make Manekshaw look more dominating in the movie?

The battle scenes are shot very well, and so is the scene that shows the brutality of the Pakistani army on former East Pakistan protestors. The recreation of the period from the 1930s to the 1970s was meticulously done. The scenes in which Sam motivates his troops are arousing and borderline goosebumps can be felt. The planning and execution of the 1971 war also look good. The scenes between Sam and his wife Silloo felt real and gave us a glimpse into what his personal life might have been like. The songs in the movie were enjoyable and enhanced the storytelling.

My favorite scenes from the movie were the ones in which Manekshaw fights for his soldiers outside the war front, be it rejecting the request of higher authorities to send his soldiers to work as masons, or to let his soldiers walk into the battlefield ill-prepared. The scenes in which he directly interacted with his soldiers were the most heartwarming moments for me in the movie. He was always like a compassionate elder brother to them, always looking out for their welfare so that they were ready and able to give their best to defend their motherland.

This movie doesn’t show some of the difficult aspects of his life outside of his life in the Army. Perhaps the filmmaker and the producer decided to show only the good aspects so that the new generation and generations after that remember him this way. Or perhaps they were protecting the image of the politicians who tried to make Sam’s life difficult. In any case, the movie seems to skim over the events in his life instead of delving deeper into some of them. I think a trilogy having each movie 2.5 hours long could have explored his life’s journey and his contributions much better.

If Hollywood can make trilogies on Batman and Spiderman, we should make one on such a military legend as Sam Bahadur, who is certainly bigger than fictional superheroes, and a true gentleman and a patriot who comes along once in a generation, or rarer. But for now, let us watch this movie on the big screen to appreciate the efforts in bringing our Sam Bahadur to life on the big screen and to give us a glimpse into his life and contributions.

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Abhishek Sainani
Movie Over Matter

An aspiring writer who often juggles between his inner world, his dream world, and the real world. Writes poetry, humorous observations and opinion pieces.