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Sunny Deol is immortal, but is the film made to revive Utkarsh Sharma’s career? – Beyond Bollywood

Pakistan-bashing will be cheered by the masses, but the film appears to be loaded with melodrama, over-the-top action, cringe dialogues.

By Mayur Lookhar

22 years is a long time between the first and the second film.  Fans have been anxiously waiting for Gadar 2 [2023]. The teaser was fine but one has been eagerly waiting for the trailer. The wait was over when it was launched last evening [26 July] in Mumbai. 

What’s our early reaction? Phew, not just the enemy but this will also shred the audiences into smithereens. Cheethde is the word that Utkarsh Sharma uses repeatedly in a dialogue from the trailer. We come to him later, but first, what is the new Gadar all about?

One of the things that made Gadar – Ek Prem Katha [2001] a blockbuster was its organic story. Violence erupts in the aftermath of the partition of India with a Muslim girl Sakina [Ameesha Patel] being rescued by Tara Singh [Sunny Deol], who eventually marries her. After learning that her parents are not dead, she aspires to meet them. Ashraf Ali [Amrish Puri], now the mayor of Lahore sees this is as an opportunity to separate his daughter from her non-Muslim, Indian husband.

For all its chest thumping action, punch dialogues, Gadar – Ek Prem Katha is essentially a love story. The question now was what would writer-director Anil Sharma dole out this time? For starters, the Katha (story) now resumes 24 years later in the lead up to the India-Pakistan 1971 war.  

The trailer has a little shot of the new villain [played by Manish Wadhwa] holding Charanjeet aka Jeete [Utkarsh Sharma] by his neck with the latter wearing an army uniform. So, does that make Jeete a prisoner of war? Did Jeete and another Indian soldier end up in Pakistan due to some pre-war skirmish on the border?

We also see Tara Singh plead to an Indian solider that he be recruited by them as the enemy knows him well. Strangely, if the enemy knows him well, then how come our soldiers never heard about Tara Singh?

Jeete, the Indian soldier being held captive in Pakistan is an organic continuation of the film, but then where does the romance with Pakistani Muskaan [Simrat Kaur] come from? We suspect her to be related to Manish Wadhwa’s Pakistani General character. We hope the Jeete-Muskaan romance isn’t similar to Tara and Sakina. That would simply make the narrative repetitive and inorganic.

Sunny Deol as Tara Singh in Gadar 2 [2023]

The trailer is loaded with melodrama, over the top action, cringe dialogues. Nothing really has changed between India and Pakistan at the political level. So, it’s the same atmosphere. In fact, the relations have only strained further thus whipping up national sentiments across both sides. Tara Singh insulting Pakistanis inside Pakistan with the beggar jibe will cheer the ultra-nationalists in India.  We see the handpump, but here Tara Singh lifts a cartwheel, land hammer blows plus he even throws heavy boxes at the enemies. The now famous handpump lift, too, is likely to return.

Undoubtedly, jingoism will be part of Gadar 2 as well. It might appeal the masses, but the overdose of melodrama, OTT action is unlikely to amuse the sane, logical Indian.  

Utkarsh Sharma stills from Gadar 2

What worries us more is the cast. Sunny Deol will keep doing Sunny Deol things, but Utkarsh Sharma really scares us. From his expression to dialogue delivery, there is cringe written all over it. More than a hero, he sounds like a villain when he warns Manish Wadhwa that his father would shred them to smithereens [cheethde] if he arrived in Pakistan. Yes, he played the young Jeete in the first film but was it wise by Anil Sharma to pick his son again? His debut film as a lead hero Genius [2018] was a total disaster. Utkarsh looks so bad in the trailer that it makes you wonder whether Gadar 2 was made to revive his career?

Utkarsh Sharma and Simrat Kaur at Gadar 2 trailer launch

Simrat Kaur was an unknown quantity until few weeks back when some sensual videos of her were leaked online. Anil Sharma, team Gadar were trolled for picking Simrat Kaur.  The criticism was totally harsh and uncalled for. Kaur has limited appearance in the trailer and so it would be too early to pass any judgment. She looks fabulous but that is all that we get to see of her in the trailer.

Ameesha Patel as Sakina in Gadar 2

Ameesha Patel had a bright start with Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai [2000] and Gadar [2001], but since then she has proved to be an enigma. She’s kept a low profile over the years, and one can sense that rustiness in the Gadar 2 trailer. What hasn’t changed though is the secular nature of Tara Singh as Sakina continues to follow her faith.

Manish Wadhwa experienced a career high with Pathaan [2023] but honestly, he didn’t impress us one bit in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer action thriller.

Manisha Wadhwa in Gadar 2

It’s a ham fest in the Gadar 2 trailer. He is honest in saying that he can never match up to the late great Amrish Puri. Forget Amrish Puri, but Wadhwa doesn’t look par for course in Gadar 2.

Given the uninspiring acts in the trailer alone, can one trust Wadhwa, Patel and Utkarsh Sharma to offer a different experience in the film?

One has to be a die hard Gadar fan to appreciate this trailer. OMG! No, we’re not promoting the competitor film, but we’re really concerned for Gadar 2 after watching the tacky trailer.

Watch the trailer below. Gadar 2 is set to be released in theatres on 11 August.

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