Ae Watan Mere Watan Review | A Rudimentary Patriotic Story Filled With Cheesy Dialogues

There is a moment in Ae Watan Mere Watan where we see how Usha and her associates decided to create a private radio because the editors of major national media were getting threatened by the British, and they wanted to let the people know the truth. When you think of the cinematic possibility of the late Usha Mehta today, this angle is something that can find a connection with the current generation. When I did some basic research about her participation in the freedom struggle, I found her days inside the prison even more fascinating. The problem with the latest Sara Ali Khan starrer Ae Watan Mere Watan is that it opts for the most obvious episode in Usha’s life and depicts that in the most generic way, with a ton of melodramatic dialogues.

The story’s main focus is around the time of the Quit India Movement. Usha was an ardent Gandhian, and she was trying her best to contribute to the fight despite her father having a major disagreement with her since he was a judge in British India. At one point, every prominent leader got arrested by the British, and the movement was facing a major roadblock. At that point, Usha decides to run a radio station that would keep the spirits high among people. The challenges she and her associates had to face in that journey are what we see in Ae Watan Mere Watan.

Aspects like production design, costumes, and the warm color tone are helping Kannan Iyer to get the setting right (the color tone was a bit stereotypical though). But, it is the lack of flair in the writing that is ruining the movie. The script by Darab Farooqui is heavily underdeveloped, and it is almost like they never bothered much about making it layered once the bullet points in the script were achieved. Those bumper sticker cheesy dialogues at every dramatic moment in the movie were just making me facepalm as they exposed the lack of craft in constructing a scene.

As the lead character Usha, Sara Ali Khan is trying her best to portray the sincerity of the real person. But the overtly theatrical writing of the lines and also the way situations are created in the story just makes the performance look overdone on screen. The grace and charm one would expect to see in the portrayal of such a character was not there. Laaptaa Ladies fame Sparsh Shrivastav was good at internalizing his character’s pain. In one scene where his character and Usha had to decide who would take the risk, the contrast in the performance is quite visible. Abhay Verma plays the role of Usha’s love interest. Sachin Khedekar, playing the character of Usha’s father, is trying his best to make the daily soap kind of dialogues given to him sound better. But he has his limitations. Emraan Hashmi is there in a guest role as Ram Manohar Lohia. It is not a role that you associate him with, and at times, when he is saying those dramatic dialogues, one could see his face going “This is not my zone.”

The fundamental issue is with the underdeveloped script that goes after cliched writing tropes to establish key emotions. We have this childhood scene of Usha where she is raising her voice against the British when her teacher gets beaten up in front of her. Then after that, she tells her father that she wants to fly high like a Siberian Crane. All these are done as part of creating a goosebumps moment in the film. But the amount of cringe it induces in you will make you wonder how terrible the judgment of the makers is about the audience. Because of the flawed staging, even the scene that explains the tactics of the gang to stay out of the radar of the British looks terrible. The use of patriotism in Ae Watan Mere Watan is like filling a fully cracked wall with just putty.

Ae Watan Mere Watan is a lethargic biopic that took very little effort to construct an eagerness around the risk taken by Usha Mehta. Rather than documenting the role of Congress Radio during the Quit India Movement, there is absolutely nothing memorable about this generic biopic. The only positive, in my opinion, was the improvement in Alexx O’Nell’s Hindi diction, as I found myself not looking at the subtitles when he said his lines.

Final Thoughts

The use of patriotism in Ae Watan Mere Watan is like filling a fully cracked wall with just putty.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.