Sardar Udham, directed by Shoojit Sircar, was one of the 14 movies shortlisted for India’s official entry to the Oscars 2022. Vicky Kaushal plays the role of the eponymous hero in the movie. Unfortunately, the film lost out to Koozhangal in the race to enter the 94th Academy Awards. This Tamil film, directed by Vinothraj PS, stars newcomers Chellapandi and Karuththadaiyaan.
The decision regarding which film will be the official entry for the Oscars is taken by the Film Federation of India, consisting of a 15-member jury. This year filmmaker Shaji N Karun headed the jury. Indraadip Dasgupta, one of the jury members, in a bid to explain their decision, reportedly told Times of India, “Sardar Udham is a little lengthy and harps on the Jallianwala Bagh incident. It is an honest effort to make a lavish film on an unsung hero of the Indian freedom struggle. But, in the process, it again projects our hatred towards the British. In this era of globalization, it is not fair to hold on to this hatred.”
Another jury member, Sumit Basu added, “Many have loved Sardar Udham for its cinematic quality including camerawork, editing, sound design and depiction of the period. I thought the length of the film was an issue. It has a delayed climax. It takes a lot of time for a viewer to feel the real pain for the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.”
Sardar Udham, available on Amazon Prime Video, is the tale of an unsung revolutionary burning with passion for his country. Sardar Udham Singh wanted to avenge the lives lost in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. For this purpose, he shot Michael O’Dwyer at Caxton Hall in London. Overlooking this piece of history documenting British imperialism in India has garnered the wrath of the netizens. They took to social media to express their discontent over the matter. Not only that, but they also brought to light how the depiction of a poverty laden India in Slumdog Millionaire was deemed fit for the Oscars but not a patriotic film like Sardar Udham.