To use the partition as the backdrop for a love story with the protagonists on
different sides of the fence is no new idea. What makes Gadar different is its
unapologetic and crude hostility towards Pakistan, and the use of this hostility
as a weapon to keep the audience interested. Characters in the movie mouth anti-Pak
dialogues with a horrible kind of glee, and as the front-benchers whistle and
cheer, you smell the stench of dishonest film-making.
Tara Singh (Sunny Deol) is a truck driver who saves the life of Sakina (Amisha Patel) during the partition riots. The two have met before at Sakina's college function, where Tara Singh (calling her Madamji) falls in love with her. The partition and its horrors cut deep into Sakina's psyche, and the presumed death of her family leaves her devasted. In this state of mind, she begins to reciprocate Tara Singh's love.
She refuses to leave for Lahore, and chooses instead to marry Tara Singh. An overjoyed truck driver and a girl in desperate need of his love get married, after, of course, more than a few objections. It is interesting to note that the wedding takes place Punjabi-style, and Sakina, though she retains her name, adopts the Hindu lifestyle rather easily. The couple have a son.
Things start to go wrong when Sakina realizes her family is alive and in Lahore. Sakina's father Ashraf Ali (Amrish Puri) is now a wealthy Pakistani politician, who gets her to come to Lahore and has a juicy political future all planned out for her. He makes sure she leaves Tara Singh and her child behind. When Sakina understands his plans, she pleads with him to let her go, but her fate seems sealed.
But even fate bows before the mighty Tara Singh, whose roar is supposed to scare mobs, policemen and the army equally. He sets off to Pakistan (illegally, mind you) to find his wife. The rest of the movie is filled with mindless violence and more we-hate-Pakistan patriotism. Cheap tricks that undermine the credibility of any movie. Though somehow you don't get the impression that the makers of Gadar were worried about credibility - they probably don't even know what the word means.
Sunny Deol, with kajal in his eyes and a really funny roar, is wasted completely,
and the lesser said about Amisha Patel's performance, the better. With a scriptwriter
who doesn't care for things like technical integrity, bad editing and one song
that is repeated some twenty times, Gadar is a bad bargain, and a waste of good
time (it runs for more than 3 hours) and good money.