Film Review: Swatantrya Veer Savarkar

By Dr Priyaankaa Mathur

Randeep Hooda nails in portraying the lean yet strong headed Savarkar most Befittingly!

Swatantrya Veer Savarkar opens with a disclaimer that the Indian Freedom Struggle was not achieved with the notion of Non-Violence alone, while it condemns Gandhian principles unapologetically.

The film takes you through the upsurge of India’s freedom struggle amid the plague pandemic, where young Savarkar looses his father,while his mother is assaulted by the British cops.He eventually grows up into a hot-blooded patriot and mentors the Abhinav Bharat Secret Society.While, he tops in his school, he to wants to understand the British law and decides to go and study in London to become a barister,so that he can fight the crown well, while his education is financed by Lala Lajpat Rai.

In London, Savarkar is shown as a sharp revolutionary,who imbibes the western lifestyle but remains, an Indian at heart. He reaches the Free India House and joins the Free India Society,a clan of like-minded revolutionaries. He sends the ammunition and manuals to create bombs to India and plans assignations of British High Commands in England becoming a hero figure for Bhagat Singh and likes. Based on the Indian rebellion of 1857, he publishes his books advocating complete Indian independence by revolutionary means, which was banned by the British colonial authorities following his imprisonment of fifty years at Kala Pani.

Directed and written by Randeep Hooda along with Utkarsh Naithani the film is very well-researched. Hooda in the lead role playing Vinayak Damodar Savarkar most befittingly, draws a brave character sketch of the tall and lean figured, brave son of India.Savarkar dreamt of an Akhand Bharat, who was a freedom fighter and not an apologist (Maafiveer). The film defends Savarkar’s pleas towards India’s freedom goals against slavery, also throwing light on the inhuman atrocities on the prisoners and the dire living conditions in Kala Pani.

Hooda has worked too hard to bring alive the character of the prisoner, reduced to skin and bone, while he’s tortured, fed infected food and beaten up like an animal. The film showcases his strong persona despite all adversities while he compels his jailor and torturer David Berry to show him some respect, by uncuffing him and offering him a drink, Savarkar tells him,” How can we have a conversation when I’m handcuffed and you are not.”

The film gives a perspective on Savarkar’s ideology which was in sharp contrast with Mahatma Gandhi played by Rajesh Khera, who supported the British at crucial junctures, condemning the momentum of Savarkar’s armed revolution through his articles.It highlights on the negotiations through non-violence, ending up in the division of the country fulfilling the vested interests of Nehru and Jinha. Savarkar was not against Mahatma Gandhi, but only against his ideology, but came under suspicion for his Assassination.Eventually declared a national villain, the film shows how he condemned Nathuram Godse for the killing.

Had Savarkar not been imprisoned in Kala Pani, he had all the grit to fight the British and unite everyone under the umbrella of Akhand Bharat, while he explains the concept of Hindutwa, which was beyond any religion, caste or creed and could have probably saved our motherland from the partition. He addresses Hindu Mahasabha and urges Hindus, Muslims and Sikh communities to stay united in the independence struggle and strives to end untouchability by building temples for the Dalits.

Ankita Lokhande plays well Savarkar’s wife Yamuna Bai. While,Savarkar goes to seek her hand for marriage, he tells her fatherthat it will not be easy to live with a revolutionary, which shebefittingly portrays. Her role is more of a wife in the agony ofseparation, which is depicted by throwing utensils when she hears ofhim going to London. Later she communicates well her longing anddespair, through her deep charcoal eyes, when she meets him in jail, as she stands by him althrough.

Although capable of fulfilling his dream of an Akhand Bharat, Sawarkar is shown helpless on the Midnight hours of India’s Independence, since his release from Kala Pani and later from Ratnagiri prison was based on the condition to not indulge in any anti-establishment and violent activities. The film culminates with Savarkar’s arrest yet again, where he tells the cop,” Had I not be arrested I would have bombed the Pakistan Parliament.”

FF Ratings: 🌟🌟🌟🌟