Sarabjit was a farmer who worked as a help in farms in his neighborhood. He had a wife and two little girls. He also had an old father and a sister much older to him. She was like a mother to him.
One day, after a bout of drunken revelry with his friend, he crossed over to the Pakistan side and was arrested. Those days, there were no barbed fences. Unfortunately for him, those fences came up three years after he crossed the line.
Once captured, he was tortured for over nine months in a cell, which was more a cement block in which the inmate could only squat and sleep. Rodents were also thrown into his 'cell' and his flesh was bitten. This was done so that he could admit that he was Ranjit, an accused in a blast in Lahore which claimed the lives of several people. To escape the torture, he admits to being Ranjit. Then, begins torture of another form. Admitting he was Ranjit atleast allowed him to slip a letter home to his folks to let them know about his whereabouts.
Watching SARBJIT in the cement block cell I wonder how any criminal could be treated like that. What were the Human Rights people doing. And here, the Pakistanis have no proof yet that he is Ranjit!
Now this is cinema, and how much of it is true we will never know. In fact, the statistics towards the end of the film states that there are over 403 Indians languishing in Pakistan jails and around a similar number of Pakistanis in Indian jails!
If most of these are cases like Sarbjit, then the governments on both sides have not learnt a thing. For the film to have made maximum impact, Omung Kumar could have used Sarbjit as the peg (no pun intended) and revolved his story around those innocents languishing in jails in both countries.
For the record, this movie is shown through Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya Rai) who fights a lone battle to get her brother back to India. Unfortunately for her, she is up against a mountain and just when she sees hope, her brother is brutally attacked in the jail. His body is brought back to India.
Aishwarya is up against a mountain even as Dalbir. She is just not able to get the character right, neither is her make-up of any help. For a film that is on SARBJIT but which hinges on Aishwarya, the actress falls short by miles.
SARBJIT is watchable only because of Randeep Hooda who goes right into the skin of the character. The actor has worked hard on his physical appearance towards the latter years of Sarbjit in prison. You expend some amount of pity for him and his plight. Your heart does beat for the way he endures the torture.
However, the same cannot be said of any of the other cast who are just there to make up the numbers on screen. Perhaps, Omung forgot that apart from Dalbir and Sarbjit, the other cast too had to be guided and they too had a part to play in the movie. Richa Chaddha, a fine actress is lost... completely.
On its own, SARBJIT was not an intense subject. Government apathy and a focus on those innocent languishing in jails with no one to fight for them should have been the focus.
That would have made the film more meaningful.