‘Swatantrya Veer Savarkar’ Movie Review: An Exhausting Film Saturated With A Preachy Attitude

There are several films being made by Hindi filmmakers about historical figures with differing political ideologies. Hindi filmmakers love to put across stories of many freedom fighters from across the country who had fought tooth and nail against the British for independence. Only a few filmmakers were able to bring justice to these characters on screen. The finest example would be Sardar Udham Singh, directed by Shoojit Sircar. To some extent, even Rang De Basanti beautifully incorporated the lives of the freedom fighters into the narrative of youngsters taking up arms against the system that wronged them. The plethora of Bhagat Singh movies that came out allow the audience to refresh their memories of some of the revered revolutionary martyrs of the country. Sadly, only a few of them left an impact. Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, 23 March 1931: Shaheed, Shaheed-E-Azam, Mangal Pandey: The Rising, Hey Ram, and Chittagong are some of the many films that explored the theme of freedom fighters and their fight for the country.


Swatantra Veer Savarkar, aka Veer Savarkar, is a controversial historical freedom fighter, and Randeep Hooda took it upon himself to make this film that chronicles the man’s life fighting against the British. The movie was released on big screens in March 2024 and is releasing on Zee5 Global on 28th May. The movie, right from the start, puts across the story of Veer Savarkar, whose name was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and how his family was severely affected by the plague. His fight against the British began during his time at Fergusson College in Pune, and he was supported by his brother. Vinayak’s further studies in London to become a lawyer was funded by a rich local as his plan was to make the fight against the oppressors easy. It was his time in London that expanded his outlook on how to fight, and it helped him follow the ideology of taking up arms against colonizers. 

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s life is on full display, including his time in the Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Even though it is every director’s right to present the story of any historical figure, living or dead, it all boils down to having a good screenplay. Randeep Hooda donned the hat of director and writer and presented a stretched out and boring story of Veer Savarkar, who led a very controversial life. Writers Randeep Hooda and Utkarsh Naithani do not know how to put together a screenplay that works, rather than just drawing out a single plot point. The audience watching the film is aware that the British were cruel, but adding scenes to emphasize this point repeatedly only adds to the runtime and makes the movie tiring. The subplot about the plague hitting Bombay and how it affected his family, the revolutionaries collective in London formulating plans to jolt the Britishers from the core, and Veer Savarkar’s long jail time in Cellular Jail—all of this could have been presented in a concise manner that is filled with the right kind of emotions. Here, the writers and the director have multiple times wanted to prove that Veer Savarkar was the man with a plan. 


If only the makers had focused more on quality and not quantity. The narrative of the movie is hell-bent on proving Veer Savarkar to be in the right. For example, as per the movie, Veer Savarkar was the one who gave the plan to Subhash Chandra Bose to find allies in Germany and Japan to fight against the British. The writers also claim many freedom fighters followed Veer Savarkar’s path. The writing is extremely shoddy, shaky, and annoyingly preachy as well. There are several long monologues in the movie in which Veer Savarkar’s character offers insight into why he dreams of an undivided India, what Hinduism is, and how equality for all religions should be the way to take the country forward. Not to forget, the makers and the writers are, at one point, borderline mocking Mahatma Gandhi and his values. The narrative is very black and white in this film, which means all who agree with Veer Savarkar’s ideology are good; the rest are just plain wrong. The whole point of a movie on a historical figure is not to point out the mistakes of others loudly; it should explore gray areas as well. There is no subtlety, which is the case with many commercial films coming from the Hindi film industry. 

The makers always spoon-feed the audience and forget that audiences have a brain of their own to decide. Sadly, the writing is just all over the place, and there are many plot holes that the makers conveniently did not talk about. The mansplaining nature makes the film unbearable at times. The writing lacked emotion, and it felt like the makers were just turning page after page of a textbook. Editing, however, takes a back seat because the length of the film is over two hours and thirty minutes, and a lot of the subplots could have been cut. The movie could have been easily turned into a 5 episodes long show of half an hour each. Credit where credit is due, the direction of the film is good, and it keeps the narrative engaging at points. Randeep Hooda knows his craft well, and he could hold the film like glue. The detailing for a period film is excellent, and it shows Randeep Hooda does have a good eye and sense of filmmaking. The production design is excellent, and a lot of time is spent on making every frame look like pre-independent India. 


The music in this film is bizarre, which makes me question the intention of the director. You will have to watch it to understand my previous statement. The movie overall felt like Randeep wanted to jump on the bandwagon of telling stories that are borderline polarizing, loud, and incite a particular community to speak up against others. 

The performance of the lead actor and director, Randeep Hooda, is mediocre. The writing is hell-bent on being loud, and it leads to Randeep having to focus on being angry all the time. There is no other emotion in the character explored by Randeep, who has co-written the film. Randeep Hooda and other writers chose to ignore the subject of female influence in his life. Ankita Lokhande has nothing to offer in this film, as the writers have hardly explored her sacrifice in making him a renowned freedom fighter. There is no angle given to her to explore except the typical Indian woman who sacrificed her married life for her freedom fighter husband. 


Swatantra Veer Savarkar is a long and exhausting watch. Veer Savarkar’s life deserved a better retelling.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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