If you remember, these two shooter Dadi Chandro and Prakashi were first met in Aamir Khan’s historical TV show, ‘Satyamev Jayate’. And now his life has been brought to the screen by Tushar Hiranandani in his film Saand Ki Aankh. Tusshar Hiranandani is going to make his directorial debut with this film. So will the inspiring story of these two shooter Dadi be able to enthrall the audience? Or it will fail in its endeavor. Let’s review.
Saand Ki Aankh is the story of two women. This year is 1999. Chandro Tomar (Bhumi Pednekar) and Prakashi Tomar (Taapsee Pannu) are Devrani-Jethani and live on the same roof with their respective husbands and strict and conservative brother-in-law Ratan Singh (Prakash Jha) and their children in Johri village in Uttar Pradesh. lives under. Though both have crossed the age of 60, Chandro and Prakashi, who wanted to do something meaningful in their life, could not do anything due to pressure from the patriarchal society. One day Dr. Yashpal (Vineet Kumar) returns to Johri village. He leaves his medical profession and starts his own shooting range. Chandro’s daughter Shefali (Sara Arjun) expresses interest to practice shooting but Ratan categorically refuses permission. Still, Chandro takes Shefali to the range. Without much thought, Chandro also tries her hand at shooting and surprisingly, she hits a bullseye. Yashpal asks him to try more as he has understood that Chandro is capable of it. After this Prakashi also joins Chandro and she also proves herself in the shooting. Yashpal encourages them to hone their skills at his shooting range and later, asks them to participate in a shooting competition held in Chandigarh. Grandmothers who have never stepped out of their village in their life are ready to go out. She goes to participate in the competition by fooling their respective husbands and impresses everyone with her shooting in the competition. Prakashi comes first and Chandro second. After that she easily wins many tournaments. What happens next after this will be known after watching the rest of the film.
Balwinder Januja’s story is very promising and inspiring. It not only enthralls the audience about the lives of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, but also gives critical remarks about the patriarchal society and the lack of awareness about population control. Balwinder Januja’s screenplay is captivating for most parts, but the flashback part could have been better in the beginning and pre-climax. Jagdeep Singhu’s dialogues are fiery and sharp.
Tusshar Hiranandani’s direction is good as a debutante and he remains in control with the writing material. He tries his best to make it as entertaining and mainstream as possible. Apart from this, he manages to portray the struggle of the grandmothers on the screen, which brings water to the eyes of the audience. On the other hand, he should have worked a bit for the duration of the film. The last 15 to 20 minutes could have been better emotionally as the scene before the finale was great.
The beginning of Saand Ki Aankh is quite interesting as the entry of Chandro and Prakashi brings a smile on their faces. Flashback portions work well in some places. Actually, the opening first half though is gripping but not strong. There is no drama or tension during this as the grandmothers can easily practice and even go to Chandigarh without any doubt. The best part of the first half comes during the Chandigarh competition, it is worth watching how both the ladies silence their detractors. Even after the interval the tension does not come up to a certain point. But still the second half is somewhat better. Some scenes here are very heart touching. The face-off between Dadi and Ratan Singh is quite exciting. At one point, it seems that the film will end now but after 20 minutes the film goes on as the track of the film now focuses on Shefali and Seema, who try to become shooters. The film ends on a very emotional note.
Undoubtedly, Saand Ki Aankh is a film by Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar. It is worth noting that both of them do not actually look old in terms of looks but their performance also reflects their age. The ease with which Taapsee plays her role is worth watching. Though she gives her best performance in the last part of the film. Bhumi also manages to deliver her best performance and her body language is superb. Apart from this, his attempt to speak English brings laughter in the theatre. However, in some scenes she gets hidden by Taapsee. Vineet Kumar looks lovely and will be loved for his character. From his dialogue delivery to expression, he takes the lead in everything. Prakash Jha looks quite believable and wins hearts with his negative character from beginning to end. Shaad Randhawa makes his appearance in the second part of the film. Nikhat Khan looks lovely as the queen as she makes her presence felt in some of the most important scenes of the film. Sara Arjun has a decent screen presence and she does well in it. Yogendra Singh (young Ratan Singh) is apt. SK Batra (IG Jaidev), Pawan Chopra (Jai Singh Tomar), Kuldeep Sarin (Bhanwar Singh Tomar), Preeta Bakshi (Seema) and Himanshu Sharma (Sachin) have also done their best.
Vishal Mishra’s music is circumstantial and works well. ‘Udta Teeter’ is exciting. ‘Womaniya’ plays out at the end and it’s nice to watch as it features real-life Chandro and Prakashi Tomar. The song ‘Aasma’ sung by Asha Bhosle is very touching. ‘Baby Gold’ and ‘Jhun Jhunna’ have catchy tunes and are shot appropriately. Advait Nemlekar’s background score has a commercial feel.
Sudhakar Reddy Yakanti’s cinematography is superb, especially in the shooting sequences. The way the camera moves, the drama adds up. One scene is also worth watching in which many important scenes have been captured in the rear view mirror of the motorcycle. Ravi Srivastava’s production design is authentic. The scenes shot in the Tomar sisters’ village make the film real. Rohit Chaturvedi’s costume is perfect. Matches well with Sunil Rodrigues’ action film. The VFX of Rajeev K Rastogi is rich. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing is clean, but it could have been a bit tighter in the second half.
Overall, Saand Ki Aankh is a film packed with stellar performances and an inspiring story by Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar. At the box office, the film will need public appreciation to compete with the other two films, Housefull 4 and Made in China.