After ‘Qayamat: City Under Threat’ (2003), director Harry Baweja’s career hit a rough patch what with, for the next five years, all of his films failing at the box office. After the debacle of ‘Love Story 2050’ (2008), the director took a long break and returned with ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ in 2014. Barring ‘Hanuman’ (2005), no Indian animation film had done respectable business at the box office making filmmakers sceptical about investing in this genre. And then, came ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’. Not only did the film change the fortune of Harry Baweja, it also made the industry more optimistic about the future of animation films in the country. The film turned to be the highest grossing Punjabi film at that point of time. Two years later, the makers are back with a sequel titled ‘Chaar Sahibzaade Rise Of Banda Singh Bahadur.’
While the first instalment in the series focussed on the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, ‘Chaar Sahibzaade Rise Of Banda Singh Bahadur’ gives us a glimpse into the valour of Banda Singh Bahadur and his extraordinary achievements as a Sikh military commander. The Chaar Sahibzaade, who were shown to be martyred in the first part, make a brief appearance but one can sense their presence throughout the film. Just like its predecessor, this film, too, gives a good account of the sacrifices made by the Sikh community and exemplifies their brave deeds in a very organic manner. The characters are heroic and yet, very relatable. A sense of awe and pride engulfs you as you see the narrative being unfolded before your eyes.
Harry Baweja’s direction is almost flawless. He binds the various events skilfully and puts together a coherent narrative. The action sequences are as good as the emotional scenes. He is tremendously benefitted by a water tight script (story: Jyoti Deshpande and Harry Baweja; screenplay: Harry Baweja and Harma Baweja). While the film is massively engaging right from the first frame to the last, certain flashback portions, which are not incidental to the main plot, could have been trimmed for a better impact. The voiceovers for most of the characters have been kept anonymous but credit must go to each of them for bringing the animated characters to life. The only two recognizable voices are that of Om Puri (narrator) and Harman Baweja (Sahibzada Ajit Singh). The film boasts of an excellent soundtrack (Jaidev Kumar, Rabbi Shergill, Nirmal Singh and Harry Baweja); each and every song resonates strongly with the narrative. The background score (Amar Mohile) is equally good.
‘Chaar Sahibzaade Rise Of Banda Singh Bahadur’ is a massively engaging film that packs in an array of emotions and makes your heart fill with pride about a community that has given this county so many real life heroes. This one is a sequel that does its predecessor proud.
(This writer watched the dubbed (in Hindi) version of the film)