No matter how noble the intent, poor execution cannot be excused. Especially when you attempt to make a biopic, pay an ode to someone who’s made a difference to the society.
You need special talent to make a terribly uninspiring film on an inspiring personality. The script makes it evident that no amount of research whatsoever has gone into making of this film. It gives an impression that Shastri’s Wikipedia page and history textbooks meant for primary school children were the only reference points, as it doesn’t tell you anything about the man that you may not have known before. Significant events in his life – tragic childhood, active participation in the country’s freedom struggle, fight to eradicate poverty and caste discrimination, Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan, to name a few, have been merely listed in an episodic manner.
Barring Akhilesh Jain (who plays and resembles the older Lal Bahadur Shastri), casting goes awfully wrong otherwise. Three other actors portray Shastri in various stages of his life. Funnily, the younger actors are taller than the older ones, and there is no facial resemblance between them. Also, the film would have seemed more authentic if the actors’ real voices would have been used instead of dubbing, which is evident.
The storytelling is startlingly cliched. Every actor speaks in slowmo and exudes Alok Nath sensibilities. The mother is majboor, so she cries all day, beta cries for being ill-treated by unkind relatives and all those tears still fail to evoke emotion. You don’t feel for the legend or his hardships.
For almost two hours, all you see is the protagonist suffering or making long speeches. Post interval, the film almost looks like it’s a generic tale on India’s freedom fighters instead of Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan (named after the late PM’s popular slogan) is merely a textbook representation of the iconic leader’s life, which probably caters to kids under the age of 10. A school play could be more effective than this.
The film chronicles the life of independent India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The Times of India