Prateek Sharma’s review published on Letterboxd:
Shakespeare famously said "what's in a name" And Shoojit Sircar applied that in this film in a profound way. Sardar Udham Singh is a classic example of misleading people as a mainstream film with promotion and marketing but deep down it's a very personal and a very unorthodox and fresh take in the world of hindi cinema. Shoojit is known for bringing his distinctive approach around basic stuff, but he switched that into very atypical surrounding with the film "October", which just like Udham singh is an uncommon film in mainstream hindi cinema. But with Udham Singh, Sircar's passion project he showed the life of Udham Singh, a dear close friend to Bhagat Singh and the brutality around the India's freedom movement and the haunting history behind the life of Udham Singh.
From the first moment, Sircar let the audience knows that the film is presentation as in tales around the life of Udham Singh as his major life which he spent in England and Russia are uncertain and obscure.
Coming onto film, Shoojit da brilliantly used the time and the concept of history expertly, without spoiling much about the structure of screenplay, it's a commendable effort by Shoojit da and his team to write such a film and executing so artistically and smoothly. The film jumps from a certain period to another period very smartly and the use of radio is something which I totally adored.. It never felt like Shoojit da is spoon feeding the audience. One of the most fascinating aspect of the film I admired was how he used the Chamberlain and Churchill period and WW II with the Indian freedom movement as well the movement of Ireland and USSR so sharply.
The use of english/hindi/punjabi is surprisingly brilliant cause it's something Indian film lacks but Shoojit like his previous films understand the importance of language like in Piku he gave the utmost respect to Bengali, Vicky donor and punjabi, Madras cafe with hindi/English/Tamil..and it's not just about the verbal language it's the cinematic language which makes Shoojit films so rich and so powerful even in small scenes.
The message of this film is loud and clear, as Udham Singh says in film "we aren't against the people, we are against the tyranny of a particular organization. " And this film is very clear about it, there's no enemies per se but it's about ideology, freedom, equality which is the right of each person. The dialogues weren't perfect but loved how this film understand the present time's circumstances and what's happening around our country and world and writers used the dialogues which were for 1940s but could be referring to present time as well.
The cinematography is just perfect, the boldness in the colour of red which expertly shows the brutal time and the bloodshed with the same boldnees in the color of blue displaying the coldness of England in climate as well as their ideology is just brilliant and loved how at the end scene the colour scheme changed for few seconds to show the freedom through the eyes of Udham Singh. Brilliant.
As usual Vicky kaushal is terrific, he didn't tried to overact and he played the role very straight forward and I could see he gave his all in this film specially in that last 40 mins sequence which he did better then what Garfield did in hacksaw ridge. The other cast members did their job too. The casting of foreign actors is trully brilliant and rarely we see such fine acting and presentation by foreigners in hindi films. The editing in between wasn't that great, but I can understand the choices they make with it, it's not a story where each and every second is essential but if you want to feel the history and want to understand what Sardar Udham was going through in his mind, please do not lose your focus while watching the film. At last wanna say hats off to Shojit Da, VFX team and all the background artist for that Jalianwala bagh scene which was heavy and made me emotional and I felt proud of how Shoojit showcased that whole sequence with utmost honesty and sincerity. That was brutal. The film is brutal. The history of our country was brutal.. And I don't think I can give this film less then 5 stars at all. I can't expect a much better biopic of Sardar Udham Singh then this. The treatment of this film is fabulous and this film shows the horror of colonialism and how important is to understand the importance of freedom. Love you Shoojit da for this film, we need more directors like you.