Ae Watan Mere Watan review: Sara Ali Khan fails to impress in a lack luster biopic

With underwhelming dialogue delivery and a screenplay that does not engage you enough, Ae Watan Mere Watan does not succeed expectations.

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Ae Watan Mere Watan review

Ae Watan Mere Watan review: Directed by Kannan Iyer, the movie is a historical biography of Usha Mehta (played by Sara Ali Khan), a young girl with an undying passion for getting India its freedom starts an underground radio station in 1942. She names it Congress Radio and broadcasts pre-recorded speeches by freedom fighters to re-ignite feelings of unity and determination across the country for India’s freedom struggle and re-start the Quit India Movement in full force. This radio station existed at a time when radio stations were banned by the British Raj. Anyone who dared to rebel would either be jailed or shot on sight. She knew the risk she was taking and the life she was giving up in order to do her part in the fight for freedom.

She had to run away from home in order to continue her radio station because, as she likes to put it, her love for her father felt like she was bound by restrictions. It caged her wish to fly high. This is because her father’s ideologies were poles apart from hers. He supported colonialism and was a Winston Churchill fan. On the one hand, she was getting beaten up at protests for supporting the throwing of the Britishers, but on the other hand, her father boasted about a car gifted to him by the British government. She was torn between choosing him or the country. While the story had so much potential and could’ve been an edge-of-the-seat patriotic thriller, there are a myriad of issues that start from the first frame itself. 

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Sara Ali Khan’s dialogue delivery for instance barely leaves any impact and feels like she is trying too hard to get the message across. But that seems to be the case with most of the cast in this film. Her father, played by Sachin Khedekar is stuck delivering melodramatic lines and overly weeping for her all the time. It is disappointing that they couldn’t bring out the right emotion from an actor of his caliber and experience. Emraan Hashmi plays Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, a socialist leader whose sincerity and philosophical lectures just aren’t convincing enough on-screen. Then there’s the villain John Lyre (Alexx O’Neil) who seems like a caricature of any British character from Lagaan. His job is to track down where the radio station is placed and put an end to it, but he constantly fails every night to catch the signal and find the culprits. Everytime he chases her there’s a weird hindi dialogue that he feels rather impressed about and it is amusing how after every chase scene, or when she is just about to get caught she looks unbothered and perfectly fine right after. 

A story which is set way back in history and years ago, somehow still finds relevance in the current political era. But the editing regardless feels like a weird montage of scenes put together rather than a smooth flowing story weaved in. In so many scenes the screenplay just loses the essence of the plot and the climax is rather abruptly placed. Even with well-done production design and costume, it falls flat because of the weak narrative. Overall, Ae Watan Mere Watan is definitely not the best historical biopic out there, we’ve seen a plethora in this genre and it simply does not live up to the expectations we had after the first look and trailer of the film was released. Simply put, It is a good story messed up at execution.

Ae Watan Mere Watan is currently streaming on Prime Video!

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Sara Ali Khan Dharma productions Emraan Hashmi ae watan mere watan sachin khedkar kannan iyer sparsh srivastava