Saand Ki Aankh 2019 Movie Reviews & Ratings

Saand Ki Aankh 2019 Movie Reviews & Ratings

Saand Ki Aankh: The biographical film traces a certain part of the lives of India’s oldest sharpshooters, Prakashi Tomar and Chandro Tomar, and leaves us with an inspiring message. Mainstream Hindi cinema, conventionally comprising a hero and his heroics, hardly departs from its dominant storytelling mode. In such a hidebound industry, even small anomalies seem notable and, if done well, signal a new trail, highlighting the possibilities of subversion and reinvention. In terms of narrative novelties, Saand Ki Aankh, the closing film of the 21st Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), which also gets a theatrical release on Friday, offers several new gateways.

Unlike most Bollywood dramas, this movie is centered on a heroine, not a hero; in fact, there are two of them — Prakashi (Taapsee Pannu) and Chandro (Bhumi Pednekar), sisters-in-law-cum-friends — who drive the story and resolve conflicts. Besides, contradicting another unwritten dictum, these women are not young and nubile, but aging and angry, no longer in love with their husbands. Their fascination is stoked by handguns now, quickly realizing that they can hit the bullseye – or “saand ki aankh” – with astonishing precision and consistent nonchalance. It’s the bulls at home, the men, that they need to be wary of.

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Saand Ki Aankh Movie Review

Sisters-in-law Chandro (Bhumi Pednekar) and Prakashi (Taapsee Pannu) are accustomed to the patriarchal ways of the society that they live in. They don’t agree with it or like it, but they are conditioned to put up with it, but at the same time, the ladies find their own little escapes to keep themselves going.

saand ki aankh trailer

saand ki aankh trailer

At the age of 60, the two senior citizens, who live in Johri village (Uttar Pradesh), with their big family, accidentally discover that they have a flair for shooting. With some help from doctor-turned-shooting instructor Dr. Yashpal (Vineet Singh), who sets up a shooting range in the village, they participate in various competitions and win medals. While they are busy honing their skills, the men in their house are oblivious to the new happenings in the lives of these ladies. They also inspire their granddaughters to follow suit. However, a twist in the tale leads them to bring a stop to the hide-and-seek, and face the men in the clan head-on.
Right at the beginning of the film, director Tushar Hiranandani sets up the stage, giving the viewers a glimpse of a household, where a woman’s identity depends on the color of the dupatta that she drapes. In a scene, Bhumi explains to a newly-wed Taapsee that the women of the house stick to wearing a ‘ghunghat’ of a specific color as it helps avoid confusion among the men in the house.
Bhumi and Taapsee are in great form as grandmothers, who are willing to do anything to inspire and help their granddaughters. The two leading ladies carry the film on their shoulders effortlessly. Their indomitable spirit shines through even when the going gets tough. Whether it’s sipping on many glasses of champagne or standing up when they are bullied by a bunch of teenagers, the two walk the road hand-in-hand and prove to be equally competent. At a few places, Taapsee steals an edge over Bhumi, but the latter quickly makes up for it. Filmmaker Prakash Jha, who turns antagonist here, does a good job and is menacing enough to evoke fear and contempt. Of the film’s songs, ‘Womaniya’ and ‘Udta Teeter’ add to the entertainment quotient and stay with you even after you leave the theatre. It’s a good thing that the dialogues aren’t preachy, but there’s nothing memorable about them either.
It’s the poor prosthetic make-up that ends up distracting you. The silver streaks in leading ladies’ hair and patchy make-up is an eyesore. It’s to Bhumi and Taapsee’s credit that they overcome this hurdle and get you to look beyond it. While there is no doubt that this is an inspirational tale, it meanders a bit too long in the first half of the film, before finding stable ground. A tighter edit would have made it a far more gripping watch. The narrative also stumbles a bit when the game of hide-and-seek between the two daadis and their family starts getting a tad repetitive.

saand ki aankh movie

saand ki aankh movie

Luckily, the director escapes that trap soon and sets things in motion when the two major face-offs in the film unfold. The characterization seems unidimensional; there are exactly four good men, and no mean women in this tale. The film drives home the point of women empowerment, celebrates the bonhomie among women wholeheartedly, and attempts at every point to hit the bull’s eye.

Saand Ki Aankh Movie Story

In Johri village, Uttar Pradesh in 1999, three wives of the Tomar men are perpetually veiled. They are identical to the male stronghold primarily by the color of their veils. Bimla, the eldest is red and Chandro (Bhumi Pednekar), the middle one, is blue. So when the youngest wife Prakashi (Taapsee Pannu), comes to her new home, she must choose her own color.

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Tushar Hiranandani directs the scene of the color-coding with a light hand. This scene illustrates the subtext – that this is life, happening to women who do not have the right to question the status quo. Patriarchy, chauvinism, and discrimination are endemic in this feudal family. The men sit around smoking hookah and treat the women as a workforce by day and a baby-making factory by night.

When a shooting range is set up in the village, Chandro envisages a ticket for her granddaughter Shefali (Sara Arjun) and Prakashi sees a way for her daughter Seema (Pritha Bakshi) to break out of the cycle of inequity. In doing so, the older women discover their own latent talents as formidable sharpshooters. But they can do so clandestinely. Family patriarch Rattan Singh Tomar (Prakash Jha) rules with an iron fist so it takes all their ingenuity for the 60-year-old versions to find excuses to travel out of their village to compete across India.

saand ki aankh story

saand ki aankh story

Pannu and Pednekar are wonderful and spunky and embrace their parts even though their body language and posture are variable. Bakshi and Arjun provide admirable support.

Much screen-time is taken revisiting village life and women’s bonding in the back room, which slows down the narrative. There’s also a troublesome scene of an elegant soiree where the women from Johri village are portrayed as fresh-off-the-boat simpletons drinking finger bowl water and chasing flickering lights cast by a mirror ball.

One cannot ignore that younger, commercially bankable actresses have been aged up to play 60-year-olds (the makeup design is rather inconsistent and unconvincing) while the older men are played by, well, older men.

But these are small niggles. Among a slew of biopics, past and present, Saand Ki Aankh stands apart because it doesn’t just celebrate the achievement of two individuals. Chandro and Prakashi Tomar didn’t just spiritedly take up sharpshooting at 60. What distinguishes them is how they inspired a younger generation to break out of patterns of suppression and, along the way, impacted the attitude of the men too.

Saand Ki Aankh Movie Cast & Crew

Directed by Tushar Hiranandani
Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Reliance Entertainment, Nidhi Parmar
Written by Jagdeep Sidhu
(dialogue)
Screenplay by Balwinder Singh Janjua
Starring
Taapsee Pannu
Bhumi Pednekar
Prakash Jha
Vineet Kumar Singh
Music by
Songs:
Vishal Mishra
Score:
Advait Nemlekar
Cinematography Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti
Edited by Devendra Murdeshwar
Production company
Reliance Entertainment
Chalk and Cheese Films
Distributed by
Reliance Entertainment
PVR Pictures
Release date 25 October 2019
Running time 146 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Box office est. 2.80 crore

saand ki aankh cast

saand ki aankh cast

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Verdict

Luckily, the director escapes that trap soon and sets things in motion when the two major face-offs in the film unfold. The characterization seems unidimensional; there are exactly four good men, and no mean women in this tale. The film drives home the point of women empowerment, celebrates the bonhomie among women wholeheartedly, and attempts at every point to hit the bull’s eye.

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