It may be called Sarbjit, but the trailer for Omung Kumar's film shows that it as much about Dalbir Kaur, and her fight for justice, as it is about Sarabjit Singh himself.
The trailer starts off with the moment when the lives of Sarabjit (Randeep Hooda) and his family changed irrevocably — the time he claimed to have crossed over the (unmarked) Pakistan border in an inebriated state and was captured by Pakistani forces. We see his family hunting frantically for him, unaware that he has already been placed under arrest, beaten and tortured. A 'confession' that he is responsible for the Lahore and Faisalabad terror attacks of 1990 is extracted from him, and when his family finally hears of him, it is from a Pakistani prison, facing a death sentence.
We see vignettes of Sarabjit's happy days with his family — sister Dalbir (Aishwarya Rai), wife (Richa Chadda) and their little daughter — and have a sense of how limited their time together is, how carefree and unaware they are of the tragedy that is to colour their lives.
The trailer is a marvelous showcase for the histrionic skills of its cast. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan transforms herself from beauty queen to a woman struck by grief but not willing to give up the fight for her brother's freedom, and life.
Her fight ages her, but does not break her. A quibble if any, would be that her accent sounds a little unconvincing and she relies on shouting her dialogues, veins in her throat popping, during the dramatic moments. She is much better in the quieter scenes in the trailer, when she has to let her face do the talking.
Richa Chadda gets a smaller portion of screen time, but is impressive, if only for the haunting, expressive quality she brings to the frame.
But the revelation the trailer unveils is Randeep Hooda. Reports of his startling physical transformation to play the incarcerated Sarabjit, have been doing the rounds for a while now, but to see him in action is at a whole different level. We'll let you discover the power of his performance for yourself.
Sarabjit Singh's story, as well as Dalbir's fight to free him, makes for dramatic telling. Omung Kumar could perhaps have done well to underplay some of the more filmi touches — like the dialogues for instance — and let the tale enthrall viewers on its own steam.
Still, the trailer looks very promising, and hints at a film that will make for riveting viewing.
Take a look: