Saand Ki Aankh Movie Review: Much ado about nothing on the inspirational life of underdogs

Saand Ki Aankh Movie Review: The outstanding life story of these two women has left us inspired. But the film disappoints you with the lack of depth in the story and character sketch.
Saand Ki Aankh Movie Review: Much ado about nothing on the inspirational life of underdogsSaand Ki Aankh Movie Review: Much ado about nothing on the inspirational life of underdogs
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Saand Ki Aankh 

Saand Ki Aankh Director:Tushar Hiranandani

Saand Ki Aankh Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar

Saand Ki Aankh Movie Rating: 2.5/5

Bollywood has been riding on the trend of inspirational films based on the life of underdogs. There is no denying that there is a certain leeway you get from the audience and critics when you narrate the life story of sportspeople from India’s hinterland. Saand Ki Aankh (a literal translation of bull’s eye) is based on the life of Chandro Tomar (Bhumi Pednekar) and Prakashi Tomar (Taapsee Pannu).

The film begins in 1999 as Chandro and Prakashi are shown taking a bus ride to visit a temple. Using an oscillating method, the director captures two decades of these two 60-year-old women who found their talent for pistol shooting by serendipity. They come from a chauvinistic village where women do not have the liberty to pursue their dreams and are still subjected to domestic violence. Especially since they are sister in-laws of the local village Sarpanch (Prakash Jha), offering liberty is perceived as losing control. Unbeknownst to the chauvinistic men of the household, the sisters-in-law decide to take their daughter and granddaughter to a shooting competition, where they uncover their talent for shooting. Here on, starts the journey of the grannies to partake in several interstate competitions and win medals.

Undoubtedly, it's a beautiful story. It also sets the right example of feminism with Bhumi and Taapsee experimenting these roles at such a stage of their careers. It is also a refreshing approach than the recently trivialised feminism ideas which get restricted to wearing red lipstick, wine parties or innuendos. However, Bollywood writer Tushar Hiranandani's directorial debut doesn’t have enough armour to stretch the film for two and a half hours.

The first ten minutes create a lot of excitement as most of us remember the Satyameva Jayate’s episode based on the cute grannies or the numerous newspaper features on them. But as you move beyond the initial ten minutes, you realise the story is moving at a snail-pace, and is often repetitive with its scenes. Despite a strong storyline, the film has a very lackadaisical approach. Soon the prosthetics, under-cooked characters et al, relegate the story to a longish tele-episode on the life of Chandro and Prakashi. The director pushes towards the audience all possible ills of patriarchy one after another – but polishes them to be subtle references.

Resultantly, your heart stops bleeding and noticing them altogether. You never develop a chord with the characters. Soon, you tend to notice some leading gaps. For instance, the illiterate grandmothers don’t know how to sign their names but know how to follow a scorecard! Similarly, in a family where audience is made to believe the existence of domestic violence, just throwing away the medals won as a punishment for defying the menfolk, seems whitewashed and far from the truth. The story also suffers from the age-old reliance on stereotyped instances to depict people from rural belt such as drinking water from finger bowl.

Tushar Hiranandani, who is credited for writing movies such as the Masti films, Ek Villian and Half Girlfriend, has definitely tried to tell the tale without making it melodramatic. Yet, it was the cameo of the real Chandro and Prakashi in the film that excites the audience more than anything. The music of the film looks pushed-in and seeps intensity from the characters. In an attempt to be a light, inspirational film, Saand Ki Aankh becomes everything but that. It’s too simplistic to make you empathise with Chandro and Prakashi.

Bhumi and Taapsee try to carry the story on their shoulders and have done a decent job. Prakash Jha does justice to the role of crude and chauvinistic patriarch of the village. Viineet Kumar leaves an impact and looks natural in his scenes. Yet, the actors were never given an arena where their acting talent could add life to the screenplay. Prakash’s character keeps repeating one dialogue -- yeh toh hona hi tha (this was bound to happen) – encapsulates the feeling of the audience as well, who can easily guess what’s going to happen next. The outstanding life story of these two women has left us inspired. But the film disappoints you with the lack of depth in the story and character sketch.

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