Movie Review: Veer Savarkar

Updated: Jun 18

Honey Raj


Such movies should be included in the school and college textbooks to make students more conscious about the unsung non-Congress independence activists.


When our country was tied in the shackles of slavery, she was wounded and devastated, when the Britishers were governing our wishes, plundering our wealth and taking them across the seven seas, then so many brave freedom fighters challenged the colonial rulers. Despite of them sacrificing their lives, efforts were made to erase their names from the pages of history. But the younger generation started writing a new chapter of independent India and in this series, the truth has been narrated which was bellied by some selfish people for their own need and greed. The hands of time have found the truth and have been constantly trying to bring them to light. Veer Savarkar is the name of a son of that new golden history of India.

Veer Savarkar 2001 is an Indian drama movie based on the life of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The film assimilates the touching events in the life of Savarkar a great revolutionary, political prophet, and a great poet. The movie is a labor of love that has been written and directed by Ved Rahi and produced by Savarkar Darshan Pratisthan in collaboration with the India heritage foundation (America.) The film has a set of versatile actors who were chosen over the years but the actor who was finally chosen to play the central character was Shailendra Gaur who brings to life the character of Savarkar on screen. Among other roles, the important ones were played by Pankaj Berry as Madan Lal Dhingra, Tom Berry, Rohitasv Gour as Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, etc. This was the first film that was made entirely on public funding. Even our late prime minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee helped himself raise 30 lakhs for this movie by giving a lecture in the US.

The film traces the journey of Savarkar who was a staunch nationalist and is keen to uproot the British colonial power from India. In that process, he forms a group called ‘Abhinav Bharat’. In 1905, he led a movement to boycott foreign goods. The center of attraction in the movie is Savarkar’s stay in London. He wants to study law and thus becomes a barrister. On the recommendation of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Savarkar meets Dr. Shyam jee Verma who is an ardent nationalist and the founder of India House in London.

He is deeply moved by the thoughts of the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini and translates his nine essays in Marathi. He soon joins Harnam in mobilizing the Indian students and thus finds Free India Society. They conduct regular meetings, celebrate Indian festivals, and discuss the various problems plaguing the country. He writes several anti-colonial texts which emanated a sense of fear for Curzon Wyllie. His writings on the history of 1857 war of Independence and Mazzini were soon banned by the Britishers. In the meantime, Curzon Wiley is shot dead by Madan Lal Dhingra. Savarkar is later arrested on the pretext of instigating violence and preaching anti-colonial thoughts. Savarkar is brought to India where he is sentenced to double life imprisonment of 50 years and given the punishment of Kala Pani at Andaman Cellular Jail.

Here he is confined to a nasty solitary room and made to extract 30 pounds of coconut oil each day. He is deeply moved by the inhuman treatment being meted out to the fellow inmates. He raises his voice, but he is sentenced to seven days of rigorous punishment. He is tied to standing handcuffs, but this didn’t deter his commitment towards his goal. He refuses to take food until medical treatment is given to a 16 yr. old boy. He soon undertakes a hunger strike to protest against harsh treatment being given to a young inmate. He is also disturbed by the forceful conversion of Hindus to Muslims.

At one point off time, he thinks of committing suicide, but his passion motivates him like never before. He stops religious conversion and educates his fellow inmates. Savarkar is conditionally transferred to the Ratnagiri jail after 16 years and told not to participate in any political activity. He is conscious of Gandhi ji’s plan of supporting Musalman’s. He grins in pain after hearing the death of his fellow Hindu brothers and sisters in Moplah.

The film takes a center stage when Gandhi comes to meet Savarkar. Both discuss the prevailing conditions within the country. The meeting revolves around the issue of cast reforms, untouchability, and shuddhi movement. The contradiction arises when Savarkar advocates the inclusion of Harijan in the Hindu temple which is opposed by Gandhi. Both could not reach over an agreement thus the talk was null and void. Savarkar is keen to awaken true Hinduism. He wants to introspect why the Hindu community got swayed away to support Muslims in the Khilafat movement.

Savarkar’s meeting with Subhash Chandra Bose is a very important scene where both discuss the formation of the Hindu army so that they can fight against the Muslim League. They should oppose minority appeasement politics being done by congress and Gandhi; then only the Hindu nation can be established.

Veer Savarkar's movie has been very well written and directed by Ved Rahi. Though the film could not attract many viewers like the films made on Gandhi and Ambedkar, it certainly left an imprint on the minds of the people. Savarkar was never a radical nationalist as he has often been portrayed. The film does raise some disturbing questions in its attempt to bring out fresh truth that has been buried over the years. Vir Savarkar makes a very important case that Gandhi and Nehru did not serve the interest of the people equally during the freedom struggle but were rather unfairly inclined towards one community.

The film might have not gone down well with the pro-Gandhian and pro-Congress people but it’s a must-watch movie for every patriot who loves his country as Savarkar did. Sacrificing all his family ties he devoted his entire life to the nation. He believed that the foundation of Hinduism rest on one nation, one cast and one culture. Such movies should be included in the school and college textbooks to make students more conscious about the unsung non-Congress independence activists. This will assist in realizing his uncherished dream of making India as Hindu Rashtra.

The author is a research scholar in Central University of Jharkhand and an intern at Academics4nation.

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