DIRECTION: Harry Baweja
DURATION: 2 hours 15 minutes
Under the guidance of Guru Gobind Singh, his disciple Banda Singh Bahadur takes on the Mughal armies to restore peace and justice in Punjab.
You’ve seen multiple versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; even characters from these epics have got their own spin-offs on prime-time television. But stories from the Sikh mythology have rarely been portrayed on screen.
The Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur is a sequel to 2014’s Chaar Sahibzaade and shifts focus from Guru Gobind Singh’s four sons, to the disciple who took his legacy forward.
Guru Gobind Singh visits sage Madho Das and urges him not to throw away his acute sense of justice and archery skills for a life of asceticism.
Madho Das then transforms into Khalsa warrior Banda Singh Bahadur. He leads the Sikh army into Mughal territories, slowly breaking their stronghold over Punjab, and along the way, avenges the death of Guru Gobind Singh’s family.
Director Harry Baweja and co-writer Harman Baweja have chosen an intrinsically interesting story to tell. Banda Singh’s training, his battles with the Mughals, his own shortcomings all have the ingredients for a good narrative, which keeps you in your seat even when the animation makes you stir in it.
And make you stir, it will. Subpar animation just doesn’t do justice to a story of this scale. It is like watching Baahubali through a Chota Bheem filter.
The songs are a distraction and the first half can get very verbose and is entirely too long. It appears to be a revision of the first Chaar Sahibzaade movie, because the story of Banda Singh actually only starts in the second half.
Put simply, if you were the kid who secretly played book-cricket in history class, you may find the movie tedious, but if stories of brave soldiers and great wars excite you, march on into that theatre.