Gadar 2—The Katha Continues is too long for its own good

Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel in Gadar 2. Photo: Universal Communications

The fundamental quote I can recall in the context of this film is that “Too much of a good thing can be bad.” Not that Gadar 2—The Katha Continues is a bad film, but it has one element that dilutes our joy at revisiting some mass-beloved iconic characters like Tara Singh (Sunny Deol), Sakina (Ameesha Patel) and their son, Jeete a.k.a. Charanjit (Utkarsh Sharma here).

That element, simply, is overkill. And that means length. Gadar—Ek Prem Katha had the meat to have a runtime of 170 minutes. This one emphatically hasn’t. It could have made for a very gripping 130-140 minute action drama, but at the same runtime of 170 as Part 1, we miss the substance in the earlier film, where emotions, music and comic book action were blended in perfect proportions. That film happened, this film is made to cash in on the franchise.

It’s a given that sequels must of necessity be bigger, but they should also be better. And it is here that Gadar 2 falls short. The convolutions in the second half, including some sudden unexplained jerks in the story like Tara Singh and his son interacting suddenly with their Pakistani friends and supporters after they reunite, are just too extensive and never-ending.

The action is relentless, even repetitious from the first installment, and Hamid Iqbal (Manish Wadhwa), a relatively small fry in the first film, based around the early 1950s, is now the main villain: he has hanged to death Sakina’s father (Amrish Puri from the first film, shown being hanged with smart VFX shots) and has a burning desire to annihilate Tara Singh now. He is made to be some kind of megalomaniac, caricature baddie.

In 1971, war is about to be declared and in one skirmish on the border, Tara (now a prosperous owner of multiple trucks) is asked to deliver supplies to the Indian contingent. It is rumored that the enemy has captured a few soldiers and some others, including Tara. The distraught Jeete decides to infiltrate Pakistan and bring back his father. His comrades-in-arms are Tara’s old cronies in that country, Gulkhan (Mushtaq Khan) and his associate (Ehsan Khan), and they get Jeete a job as a cook with a family of caterers that supply food to the prison where Tara is kept.

But, in a twist, Tara has not been caught by the enemy at all, and reaches home to an overjoyed Sakina, who, however, tells him that Jeete has gone, on his own and unknown to her, to Pakistan to bring him back. And now, its Gadar time again: Tara must go there, single-handedly fight almost the entire army and bring their son back. But Jeete does not return alone: he has found love, in the Pakistani daughter Muskaan (Simratt Kaur) of the family he has been working for.

The action may be spectacular (an army of top names in action—K. Ravi Verma, Sham Kaushal, Tinu Verma and Abbas Ali Moghul design the bonanza, along with Manish Tyagi in charge if the SFX and Blasts), but goes on and on…and on. I loved the climax in which Hamid gets his just desserts, after Tara’s ‘sermon’ to him, but there is a major problem with the orgy of stunts going on for more than 30 minutes before that.

The new songs (Mithoon) are pathetic to the extreme and the re-recorded Uttam Singh’s classics from the older film provide the only relief. Of course, some older non-film songs are used as a part of Monty Sharma’s otherwise average background score. Technical values and scale of mounting remain high, and Anil Sharma handles everything deftly as a director, especially the performances.

The dialogues are fiery and bombastic enough, and the story-line was ingeniously crafted for a sequel, with Nana Patekar providing the linking commentary.

Sunny Deol is especially impressive as the doting husband and indulgent father in the earlier sequences and is the typical roaring and fierce man of the soil as always later. He is still quite convincing as he lifts an entire cartwheel and yes, there is the famous hand-pump sequence used differently. In the brief role she has, Ameesha Patel acts like a reprise from the older film, both as wife and mother.

Utkarsh Sharma in Gadar 2. Photo: Universal Communications

Utkarsh Sharma is sincere, dances fluidly and acts with great ease, impressing also in the action sequencews. Lubna Salim stands out for her cameo, and Mushtaq Khan, Ehsan Khan and everyone else, including Luv Sinha in a sketchy role, are effective. Manish Wadhwa does justice to his caricature…Oops! I mean character!

In a demanding and fussy audience scenario of 2023, I hope that The Katha Continues at the box-office. After all, in the last frame, we are also told, “To be continued…”. But again, as I said, a sequel must also be better, not just bigger. I would urge Anil and his writer Shaktimaan Talwar (who seem to be having an idea already for Part 3) to keep that in mind.

Rating: ***

Zee Studios, Anil Sharma Productions & MM Movies present Gadar 2  Produced by: Anil Sharma, Kamal Mukut & Zee Studios Directed by: Anil Sharma Written by: Shaktimaan Talwar  Music: Uttam Singh, Mithoon & Monty Sharma StarringL Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel, Utkarsh Sharma, Manish Wadhwa, Simratt Kaur, Luv Sinha, Mushtaq Khan, Madhumalti Kapoor,       Rakesh Bedi, Dolly Bindra, Gaurav Chopra, Aaditya Sharma, Rajshree, Mushtaq Kak, Nilofar Gesawat, Lubna Salim, Ehsan Khan, Anil George, Rajesh Khera, Annie Sikho, Mir Sarvar & others




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