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Ae Watan Mere Watan Review – Forgettable Take On An Unsung Hero

By Binged Bureau - Mar 21, 2024 @ 08:03 pm
2 / 5
BOTTOM LINE: Forgettable Take On An Unsung Hero
Rating
2 / 5
Skin N Swear
None
Biography

What Is the Story About?

Prime Video India original film ‘Ae Watan Mere Watan’ is set in the backdrop of India’s freedom struggle and the 1942 Quit India Movement, and recounts the real-life endeavours of freedom revolutionary, Usha Mehta.
 
The British have done their best to quash Gandhiji’s Quit India Movement. India’s leaders have been thrown into jail to nip the movement in the bud. With no leader of stature to motivate and mobilise the masses, the Quit India Movement is in danger of dying a premature death.
 
A young resourceful revolutionary, Usha Mehta (Sara Ali Khan), sets up a secret radio station with the help of her friends Kaushik (Abhay Verma) and Fahad (Sparsh Shrivastava), and succeeds in spreading the message of freedom to every corner of the country, effectively reviving the movement even in the absence of India’s freedom luminaries.
 
Ae Watan Mere Watan is produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, written and directed by Kannan Iyer, and co-written by Darab Farooqui.

 

Performances?

Sara Ali Khan is wooden and monotonous as the young Usha. She is unable to evoke even an iota of the fiery passion, indomitable courage and boundless zeal of the real-life Usha Mehta. Though her flawless radiance bathes each colour-leached frame with brilliance, her unaffecting performance and stilted dialogue delivery cancel out any impact of the former.

Emraan Hashmi is excellent as Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia. He brings both earnestness and gravitas to the table, but the clichéd dialogues he’s been saddled with do him in. Abhay Verma as Kaushik, Usha’a co-conspirator and love interest, is good. Sachin Khedekar, as Usha’a Churchill-loving father, is reduced to a caricature.

Sparsh Srivastava is superb as Usha’s polio-ridden fellow revolutionary Fahad, and the only one in the cast who really makes us sit up and take notice of the proceedings each time he’s on screen. Madhu Raja, as Usha’s elderly aunt, leaves an impression in the short time she’s on screen.

Analysis

Usha Mehta has been largely ignored in the annals of Indian history. The endeavours of the diminutive yet firebrand woman might find just a passing mention in our history books, if at all. Most common people had never even heard of the lady who let alone her endeavours, before Dharma Productions and Prime Video decided to make a movie on her heroic exploits.

In that sense, Ae Watan Mere Watan is of exceptional importance —especially in today’s India, when the real heroes of our country and its freedom struggle are gradually being pushed more and more into the background by the cacophonous brand of patriotism enveloping the nation. Our people should know all about Usha Mehta and how her brave deeds saved the Quit India Movement of 1942 from turning into another failed Indian revolt, a la 1857.

However, the makers of Ae Watan Mere Watan have done the memory and heroism of Usha Mehta great disservice by turning her story into yet another trope-ridden lookalike of the countless freedom struggle movies dotting India’s cinematic landscape.

So Ae Watan Mere Watan goes about ticking all the token boxes – the mandatory surfeit of mediocre white actors barking out lines like “find them and hang them”; badly-turned-out Indian sepoys lathi-charging terribly characterised Indian masses – both category of characters looking like they’ve stepped out of an amateur Independence Day school play; a traitor or two who squeals on the heroes; beaten and bruised lead characters shouting “karo ya maro” in the most unaffecting, dispassionate ways; and more such banalities.

Amidst all the hullabaloo of the above, intertwined with manufactured cat-and-mouse chases through mosques and abandoned buildings, Ae Watan Mere Watan has not a single goosebumps-inducing moment to boast of in the entire runtime of the movie. Not once in the entire movie do the characters — be it Sara Ali Khan’s Usha or Sparsh Shrivastava’s Fahad — make us care about what happens to them or whether they taste success in their mission or anything else, for that matter.

Yes, all of it is that insipid and clinical. It leaves us unmoved and unaffected by the end of it, thus consigning the heroics of Usha Mehta back into the fate of unsung obscurity. Coz Ae Watan Mere Watan is a film that is bound to recede into the annals of oblivion – faster than the inconsistent pace of the film.

Music and Other Departments?

Mukund Suryawanshi, Akashdeep Sengupta and Shashi Suman’s musical score is average – nothing too rousing about it. None of the songs hits its mark. Amalendu Chaudhary’s cinematography is good, though feels too clinical and manufactured to really impress. Sangeeth Varghese’s editing does what is required of it.

Highlights?

None worth mentioning

Drawbacks?

Ridden with tropes

Too clinical and contrived

Unimpassioned storytelling

Clichéd dialogues

Wooden

Sara Ali Khan

Did I Enjoy It?

No, not much

Will You Recommend It?

As a one-time watch, and only coz Usha Mehta’s story needs to be seen, even if through a strictly average film.

Ae Watan Mere Watan Movie Review by Binged Bureau

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