The Telugu version of 'Sardar' was today released in theatres by Annapurna Studios. The film's Tamil original had a simultaneous release.
Inspector Vijay Prakash (Karthi) is after fame and acclaim. He is in love with a sincere advocate named Shalini (Raashi Khanna). When he comes to know that he has to crack a case related to a missing file that has got military secrets of India's intelligence agencies in it, his life takes some unexpected turns.
Vijay Prakash comes to know of Bose aka Sardar (Karthi, again), who is a super-intelligent spy formerly associated with the RAW. No prizes for guessing that Sardar is his father. What ensues after Vijay makes a solid decision is what the film is about.
Karthi is good but not awesome. Be it comedy or action, be it sentiment or drama, he gets everything half-right. Rajisha Vijayan of 'Ramarao On Duty' fame plays Chandrabose's pair. Chunkey Panday of 'Saaho' fame is routine. Raashi Khanna, after duds like 'Thank You' and 'Pakka Commercial' in Telugu, is tasting greener pastures in Tamil with 'Thiruchitrabalam' first and now 'Sardar'.
Yesteryear actress Laila is seen as an environmental activist; she consciously chose to stay away from bubbly roles for many years and the comeback has the bite. All other actors have been drawn from Kollywood.
Cinematographer George C Williams of 'Ghani' and 'Mr. Majnu' fame shows efficiency. His work comes to the fore in the second half. GV Prakash Kumar's background score doesn't sound fascinating. Ruben's editing is inspired by films like 'KGF'.
Director PS Mithran debuted with Vishal's 'Abhimanyudu'. He may have resorted to scaremongering in that film, but many audiences knew about how cyber crimes happen in everyday life because of 'Abhimanyudu'. His second film 'Hero' was not remotely as effective; it touched upon the sins of the education mafia but suffered from a lack of novelty.
'Sardar' stretches its plot built around an imagined water mafia to ridiculous levels. We are made to believe that everything from bottled water to waterways can eventually lead to artificial scarcities and a scandal worth Rs 10 lakh crores. The corporate sector is demonized by scaring us that it is going to turn the tap off someday. From a public health disaster to a secret file that contains explosive secrets, there are many threads that this film touches without great effect.
Sardar's supreme abilities are established through the interval fight. He can speak 24 languages and has survived hundreds of interrogations over the years. It's because he is meditating, as a character glorifying him reels off.
The RAW, the Chennai cyber crime branch, the Indian army, the Pakistan army, the Bangladeshi prison, the Chinese angle - you will lose track of the umpteen elements after a point. Amidst all this, non-thrilling coincidences take the zing out of the screenplay.
The good guys have a providential escape in a film that tries to be an epic like 'KGF' but fails to become one. A lot of things can't happen in this film unless the antagonist is inept. And he is helpfully inept.
The action blocks are good but not scintillating.
'Sardar' can put you off with its bloated script. It's an over-ambitious film. The visuals work. The running time is too lengthy. Watch it with low expectations.