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Ae Watan Mere Watan Review – Sara Ali Khan starrer is painted with broad strokes and presented in even broader ones

Ae Watan Mere Watan starring Sara Ali Khan is a movie that deserved much more than a surface level exploration. 

Ae Watan Mere Watan Review – Sara Ali Khan starrer is painted with broad strokes and presented in even broader ones
Ae Watan Mere Watan Review

Last Updated: 12.05 AM, Mar 21, 2024


The year is 1942, and a young woman, Usha Mehta (Sara Ali Khan) is a budding freedom fighter who wants to throw the British out of India. While working for Congress she realises the power of radio and how she can enter homes without going around the country physically. She starts the Congress Radio and finds the attention of the country and the British government too. She now has to keep the radio transmission on while also saving herself and the movement. How Usha manages to pass Ram Manohar Lohia’s message to the country is Ae Watan Mere Watan. 


Ae Watan Mere Watan Review:

With the advent of the biopic genre, we made one thing sure: that this will probably be the most influential one in the pool. When the subject is a freedom fighter, as someone who has been taught to be supremely patriotic, even if the movie is a dud affair, you as an audience will be moved by the end of it. If not for the acting or the film, you will be moved by the idea because you can imagine what they must have gone through. So when Usha Mehta’s story finds the limelight, you are already in awe of a woman who stood tall at a point in time when it was not just a challenge to seek independence for the country but was also a challenge to be a woman. This ends up making you feel proud when Ae Watan Mere Watan ends, but is it the movie or the patriot in us?

Ae Watan Mere Watan, directed by Kannan Iyer and written by Darab Farooqui with Iyer, finds itself much later in the runtime. What triggers the good part is a scene about a woman trying to illegally get a transmitter from a dealer while also avoiding getting caught by the British cops. She goes into disguise, a chase starts, and it leads to a moment where tension builds. Beyond this point, the tension prevails even if the content dips at many points. But what is before all of this? The Sara Ali Khan starrer suffers from the same problem as Yodha, which was released last week and comes from the same production house as Ae Watan Mere Watan.

The problem is that it assumes that the audience is well-equipped to create a picture of what life before the turmoil must have been like. To give the audience a gist, it runs through the existence of its subjects until that point through a couple of important episodes. These jump cuts run through years, and you have an idea that Usha is always the savior, she is supremely patriotic, her relationship with her father is troubled, and more. But what this blueprint fails to do is establish Usha as a human rather than a character. She has been in our general knowledge books and just a couple of things more than that don’t qualify for a film that is about her. We never meet Usha in her silence, and even if we do, it is just for representational purposes, and the movement is rushed in and out.

For instance, Usha Mehta, as per the movie, was in love with her friend who was also her co-fighter in the freedom struggle. But when Gandhiji showed them the path of celibacy, she chose it but he didn’t. The moment is heartbreaking, vulnerable, and even very delicate. But it doesn’t land like it should because we have not really seen them fall in love and be in it. We only know they exchanged glances once; that is not enough to make us cry over their pain when they chose to part ways for the country. This is just one of the aspects of this almost 135-minute-long film.

Most of it feels like it is being played out on a stage. Yes, there are moments that do create the impact and intrigue that they should, but they get overshadowed by the ones that don’t. The script is written in broad strokes because there is so much scope in this story to dissect and explore the episodes that are interesting, but the script only chooses to mention them and move on. Usha, who has heard of a transmitter and radio for the first time, is never shown learning how to use it. She is already a scholar. The moments where a freedom fighter learns something to hatch a plan are the scenes that connect. Alia Bhatt’s training montage in Raazi is a scene that is still so fresh. Or Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’s sequences, for that matter. Ae Watan Mere Watan lacks that, and the void is felt.

While the script is in broad strokes, the direction is in even broader strokes because no character is built well, even visually. Sparsh Srivastava is a brilliant actor and plays a man who has polio. The script never even bothers to take us to his home, meet his world, and then look at what he is doing. The same is true with the rest. Usha’s family gets the participation only to cater to her journey. There is no mention of their normal world. Emraan Hashmi as Ram Manohar Lohia is Emraan Hashmi in prosthetics with some moving speeches. There is no justification as to why an actor of Emraan’s positioning is cast for a role that ends up being a caricature more than a character.

The background score is interesting, background music is quite underplayed. The art design feels authentic, and the cinematography does quite a good job of making this world look era-appropriate.

Ae Watan Mere Watan Review: Final Verdict:

Ae Watan Mere Watan is a story that deserved storytelling that first developed a human and then a freedom fighter because there is so much to a woman who fought all odds in a time where the battle was not just for the independence of a country but also her gender.

Ae Watan Mere Watan released on March 21, 2024 on Amazon Prime Video. Stay tuned to OTTplay for more reviews and and everything from the world of streaming and films. 


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