'Ae Watan Mere Watan' review: Sara Ali Khan shines as Usha Mehta

But the film doesn't whip up feelings of patriotism like Raazi or Rang de Basanti did


In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi announced the Quit India movement, the entire nation tuned in to the radio. They were eagerly awaiting the radio programme led by Usha Mehta, who started the Congress radio. Ae Watan Mere Watan is inspired by the life of this 22-year-old woman, who is one of the unsung heroes in India's fight for freedom.

This film, which also stars Emraan Hashmi, Sparsh Shrivastava and Abhay Verma. The pace of the film is slow, as with most period films. It begins with a young Usha, who wants to fly like the migratory Siberian cranes she sees.

The radio station is born post the arrest of all major Congress leaders after Gandhi, at August Kranti Maidaan, announces the 'Do or Die' slogan. The young freedom fighters start the radio station, as they realise that bridging the communication gap would further the fight for India's independence.

The move comes at a time when media has been censored by the British and the government has banned private radio stations. It is interesting to watch the British officers led by John Lyre (Alexx O'Nell) chase the signals to locate the radio station.

There are certain lapses in the film—in the first half—where the editing could have been tighter, but, overall, the plot keeps you hooked. Sara Ali Khan is convincing as Usha, who stands true to her commitment to the freedom fight. While her dialogue delivery could be better, her emotions come through, especially, when her relationship with her father (Sachin Khedekar) is conflicted. For, he works for the British Raj. Sparsh Shrivastava as Fahad, too, puts up a great performance.

The film is definitely a shift for director Kannan Iyer, who has previously written Victory starring Harman Baweja and directed Ek Thi Daayan starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Hashmi.

But, the film doesn't stir feelings of patriotism like Raazi or Rang de Basanti or any of the Bhagat Singh movies did. Better narration, for one, could have done wonders to it.

The film, however, might be Sara Ali Khan's breakthrough moment.

Film: Ae Watan Mere Watan

OTT platform: Amazon Prime

Director: Kannan Iyer

Cast: Sara Ali Khan, Alexx O Nell, Emraan Hashmi

Rating: 2.5/5


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