Sarbjit is a deeply disturbing account of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian convicted of spying and terrorism by the Pakistani courts. It’s a story of the struggle of a family – an ageing father, an unremitting wife and an unrelenting sister – that endlessly awaits its son’s return. It’s heartbreaking and equally inspiring to see a lone woman battle it out against a system, ruthless and unsympathetic, for 25 years. Sarabjit’s story and his sister Dalbir’s long-drawn battle will leave you in tears.
But the film is marred by bad acting. ‘Sarbjit’ would have been a different film without Aishwarya Rai (Dalbir Singh). She’s trying too hard to get it right. She isn’t consistently bad. The actress gives us some fine moments too – the scene, for example, where she breaks down holding her child to her chest, or even where she gets to see her brother after years in jail. But her high-pitched dialoguery takes way too much from the film. She emotes better without words.
Randeep Hooda (Sarabjit) despite a lesser role, is the strength of this film. And the reason you should watch it, if at all. His transformation is shocking. The scene where he lets out his years of anguish and frustration in the solitary confinement before his sister is one of the finest in the film. Richa, a brilliant actor, is wasted in the film.
The biggest problem with ‘Sarbjit’ is the language. It constantly came in the way. Half hindi, half Punjabi accent takes the punch off the dialogues. It should have stuck to one of the two.
Musically, ‘Dard’ by Sonu Nigam is heart-wrenching and ‘Salaamat’ by Arijit Singh is quite listenable.
The film leaves you with anger, grief and empathy but ‘Sarbjit’ could have been so much more with a better actor at the helm.
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