Retrospective reviews of Gadar: Ek Prem Katha appear confused about the success of the film despite its atrocious quality. Here’s the thing: Indians hate Pakistan for the atrocities centered around religious communities during the 1947 Partition. It’s understandable for the people of that era to never get past the horrors of that day. But people born decades after the Partition, who have nothing to do with the military or political clashes with the neighboring country, think that it is their national duty to hate the neighbouring country. No, they won’t join the army to go to the border or occupy international administrative positions to do anything substantial for India. They’ll instead cheer and jeer at films that hate Pakistan, watch news channels that do the same, and then partake in discriminatory behavior in real life. Since Gadar: Ek Prem Katha fueled that ever-burning fire, it did well. Now, Gadar 2: The Katha Continues is here to do the same. So, please don’t act surprised if it blows up at the box office and is hailed as some kind of path-breaking masterpiece.
Anil Sharma’s Gadar 2, which has been written by Shaktimaan Talwar, takes place around the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. Pakistan’s Major General Hamid Iqbal hates Tara Singh for killing 40 of his soldiers while trying to take Sakeena and Jeete to India in 1947. He has been killing Hindus who reside in Pakistan. He has killed Sakeena’s father, Ashraf Ali, which apparently led to Shabana Ali’s (Sakeena’s mother’s) death. General Hamid is burning with revenge and wants to get rid of Tara Singh at all costs. Coincidentally, Tara works as a truck driver for the Indian army, and he is ordered to deliver ammunition to the battlefield because there’s no air support. Tara not only delivers the ammunition, but he also joins the fight. Hamid spots him and shoots in his general direction with rocket launchers. When the dust settles, the Indian Army vaguely states that Tara has probably died in combat. So, despite having no skills whatsoever, Jeete enters Pakistan as a spy to look for Tara. Guess what? Tara isn’t there. The explosion apparently sent him down a river (that popped up out of nowhere), due to which he went into a coma and then conveniently recovered when the plot needed him to go on a rescue mission. Oh, and Jeete falls in love with a Pakistani girl called Muskaan to generate some kind of international conflict, I suppose.
To be honest, Gadar 2 is a very weird movie. Despite being a sequel to a chest-thumping, overly nationalistic film, Shaktimaan talks about how religious communities don’t want to have any kind of enmity and that the hatred between these two nations is being spread by people in administrative positions. There are several instances where Pakistanis are shown to come to Tara and Jeete’s aid to underscore the theme of brotherhood across borders. And by the end, Tara Singh makes a pretty explicit plea about the coexistence of Hindus (represented by the Gita) and Muslims (represented by the Quran). Yes, I know that Tara is from the Sikh community, which follows the Guru Granth Sahib, and it’s not like Tara is aware of how Hamid Iqbal forces his victims to choose between the Gita and the Quran, but it’s not like there’s any point looking for logic in this film. Similarly, it’s stupid to expect the film to outdo its anti-Pakistan sentiments with the aforementioned statements because Shaktimaan’s obsession with the neighboring country is what forms the foundation of this duology. And that’s exactly why I think this is a very weird movie.
Anil Sharma, Shaktimaan Talwar, and everyone remotely associated with Gadar 2 know that its target audience wants to watch Pakistanis die on the big screen and hear Indians and Pakistanis talk about how awesome India is. The people buying tickets to watch Gadar 2 know that they are there to watch Pakistanis die on the big screen and hear Indians and Pakistanis talk about how awesome India is. So, who exactly is the lip service about unity and inclusivity for? What is the point? Is it getting to anyone? Is anyone watching the film thinking that this whole trend of hating Pakistan is meaningless because of those few subdued calls for peace and brotherhood? Do the filmmakers think that the minority-hating dog whistles will be forgotten just because of a couple of lines against discrimination? Do they think that the audience is going to forget about all the loud jingoism and instead engage in peace talks? Then what is up with this pretense? It’s a long film anyway. Why waste the audience’s time on something that the filmmakers (as well as the audience) clearly don’t believe in? It is baffling. It is hilarious. Does anyone want points for trying? Well, they are out of luck because there are none.
Gadar 2 isn’t an aesthetically pleasing experience. The visuals are loud. The sounds are loud. The editing is jarring. The VFX and CGI are atrocious. There’s no sense of pacing. There is a lot of action, a lot of explosions, a lot of car flips, and a lot of stunts. However, it’s all incomprehensible. At one point, there is a parkour sequence featuring Jeete. FYI, this guy is an aspiring actor and didn’t exhibit an ounce of athleticism prior to that moment. But maybe it’s the nationalism and love for his father that turn him into Tiger Shroff. That said, the weirdest thing about the film is the time dedicated to Pakistan and India. Gadar had a 50-50 split. The first half mostly took place in India, and the second half took place in Pakistan. In this sequel, almost 70–80 percent of the narrative unfolds in Pakistan. I’m bringing this up to highlight the filmmakers’ need to promote Indian nationalism by wreaking havoc in Pakistan via a fictionalized scenario. I’m also bringing it up to talk about the stereotypical and cheap representation of the neighboring country. The production design, costume design, hair, make-up, set design—it’s all really bad and not in a purposeful way. It’s reflective of the ineptitude of the filmmakers and their lack of passion when it comes to creating an immersive experience. Then again, the film’s target audience is happy with explosions and screaming. So, who am I to complain?
Talking about screaming, major props to Sunny Deol, Utkarsh Sharma, and Manish Wadhwa for their dedication to yelling at the top of their voices. It is supposed to be emotional and whatnot. But to me, it just seemed like noise. To Gadar 2’s target audience, I’m sure it must’ve sounded like music. By the way, while doing some research about the art of dubbing, I learned that a lot of actors don’t do their own screams in order to protect their voice boxes. Dubbing artists who specialize in screaming are brought in to do all the screaming. I don’t know if that’s the case here. If it isn’t, and Sunny, Utkarsh, and Manish have done their own screaming, they deserve a round of applause. It’s a tough job. Not as tough as being a part of a venomous film. As for the rest of the cast, their performances are awful. I think they were counting on the copious use of footage from the previous film and reimaginings of the songs from the previous film to do all the heavy lifting. That’s why they didn’t even care about crafting characters, working on their dialogue delivery, or, you know, doing anything that’s synonymous with good acting.
In conclusion, Gadar 2 is one of the worst films of all time. Several other films have been released along with it, e.g., OMG 2, Jailer, Bholaa Shankar, Cheeni 2, Byomkesh O Durgo Rahashya, Heart of Stone, and Red, White, and Royal Blue. Spend your precious time on them instead of injecting fictional, cinematic hatred into your system.