Review: ‘Gadar 2,’ starring Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel, Utkarsh Sharma, Manish Wadhwa, B.N. Sharma, Gaurav Chopra and Simrat Kaur

August 14, 2023

by Carla Hay

Sunny Deol and Manish Wadhwa in “Gadar 2” (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

“Gadar 2”

Directed by Anil Sharma

Hindi and Urdu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in 1971, in India and in Pakistan, the action film “Gadar 2” (a sequel to the 2001 film “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha”) features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: During Pakistan’s “Crush India” campaign, a Pakistani military leader decides to get revenge on the Indian man whom he blames for killing 40 of his soldiers in 1954, and the Indian man’s adult son also gets caught up in the vendetta.

Culture Audience: “Gadar 2” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the film’s headliners and the movie “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha,” but “Gadar 2” is yet another example of a sequel that is vastly inferior to the original movie.

Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel and Utkarsh Sharma in “Gadar 2” (Photo courtesy of Zee Studios)

“Gadar 2” is a disappointing mess that offers nothing clever to this saga. This sequel to the 2001 film “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha” is proof that waiting several years to make a sequel doesn’t mean that the filmmakers can think of any good ideas for that sequel. The first “Gadar” movie (which took place from 1947 to 1954) was a romance about two people from feuding nations (India and Pakistan), who fell in love with each other, despite disapproval from almost everyone around them. “Gadar 2” is just another mindless action flick about a family caught up in a revenge plot.

Directed by Anil Sharma and written by Shaktimaan Talwar (who, respectively, directed and wrote “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha”), “Gadar 2” also brings back several of the principal cast members who were in “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.” (“Ek Prem Katha” means “love story” in Hindi.) The events in “Gadar 2” take place primarily in 1971, during Pakistan’s “Crush India” campaign. The movie’s story occurs in India and in Pakistan. The beginning of “Gadar 2” has some introductory scenes as a summary of what took place in “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.”

In “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha,” Indian Hindu truck driver Tara Singh (played by Sunny Deol) fell in love with a Pakistani Muslim former college classmate named Sakeena “Sakku” Ali (played by Ameesha Patel) during the Partition of India in 1947, when India and Pakistan were in deadly conflicts with each other. Tara and Sakina got married and had a son named Charanjeet “Jeete” Singh (played by Utkarsh Sharma), who was abut 6 years old at the end of the “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.” Deol, Patel and Sharma all reprise these roles in “Gadar 2.”

In “Gadar 2,” Jeete is now about 23 years old. He lives with his parents in an unnamed city in India. Jeete has been having problems. Much to his parents’ dismay, Jeete has been truant from college. He wants to drop out of college and do something else with his life, but he hasn’t figured out what that is yet. Jeete gets into arguments with his parents, who worry about what the future might hold for aimless Jeete.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani major general named Hamid Iqbal (played by Manish Wadhwa) is plotting to get revenge on Tara, because he blames Tara for 40 of his men getting killed during events that happened in “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.” In case that information isn’t clear, Major General Iqbal repeats it several times in the movie, because the filmmakers must think viewers are idiots for not getting this information the first few times it was mentioned. Major General Iqbal is the same person who murdered Tara’s father, so Tara has his own reason to get revenge on this corrupt military official.

Major General Iqbal finds out that Tara and Sakina are living with Jeete in India. It’s around the same time that Tara mysteriously disappears. Tara’s family believes he might have been kidnapped and is being held captive in Pakistan. Sakina meets with an Indian lieutenant colonel named Devendra Rawat (played by Gaurav Chopra) to ask for his help in finding Tara. Lieutenant Colonel Rawat warns Sakina that another major Indian-Pakistani conflict is coming.

Against Sakina’s wishes, Jeete sneaks out of the house with a plan to find Tara in Pakistan. Jeete uses a fake passport to cross the border into Pakistan, but he is very nervous when he is questioned about his nationality and loyalties by a Pakistani border agent. Someone who notices Jeete from a distance is Major Anwar Ali (played by Abrar Zahoor), a Pakistani assistant sub-inspector who knows that Jeete is Tara’s son.

Jeete and Major Ali make brief eye contact and look at each other, as if they both know about Jeete’s lies to cross the border. Jeete crosses the border and quickly disappears into the crowd before Major Ali can apprehend him. It isn’t long before Major Ali alerts his colleagues to tell them that Jeete is in Pakistan.

Jeete was wrong about Tara being held captive in Pakistan. Tara has been in India all along. Tara comes home after being missing for a few days. And when Tara finds out that Jeete is looking for him in Pakistan, Tara becomes furious and then alarmed. And you know what that means: Tara goes to Pakistan to find Jeete. And he steps right back into enemy territory, where Major General Iqbal is waiting for him.

None of this is spoiler information, since the trailer for “Gadar 2” gives away about 90% of the plot for this substandard film. Patel, who had a prominent role as Sakina in “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha,” is reduced to being a stereotypical “worried wife at home” supporting role in “Gadar 2.” The movie becomes a father-son rescue/revenge story that is poorly staged amid the idiotic plot.

“Gadar 2” also copies the romance story from “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.” During the time that Jeete is in Pakistan, he meets and falls in love with a Pakistani woman named Muskaan (played by Simrat Kaur), who finds out that Jeete is really an Indian citizen when he tells her the reason why he entered Pakistan with a false name and fake passport. And so, “Gadar 2” rehashes the “forbidden love” storyline that was in “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.” The acting performances in “Gadar 2” are not impressive.

One of the worst things about “Gadar 2” is how the movie drags on and on with one ridiculous scenario after another. In fight scenes, there are plenty of chances for Major General Iqbal to immedately kill Tara and/or Jeete, but instead he just sneers and taunts. And then later, Major General Iqbal tells his men how much he wants to kill this Tara and Jeete. Tara is able to fight off dozens of armed soldiers with just a sledgehammer, his signature weapon. Yes, it’s that type of movie.

“Gadar 2” might satisfy viewers who are looking for bombastic and shallow entertainment to pass the time. (And it’s a lot of time, because this very noisy but empty movie is 150 minutes long, which is too long for its very flimsy plot.) Anyone who is expecting this sequel to have an interesting story needs to look elsewhere. There was a 22-year-gap between the releases of “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha” and “Gadar 2.” Was it worth the wait? Absolutely not.

Zee Studios released “Gadar 2” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on August 11, 2023.

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