Director: Tushar Hiranandani
The wait is over and Saand Ki Aankh has finally hit the screens, now let's see if the going through all the criticism for not casting the women having a suitable age for the roles of Shooter Dadis and instead choosing Tapsee and Bhumi was worth it for the makers or not.
Saand Ki Aankh is a story inspired by the lives of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar also known as Shooter Dadi and Revolver Dadi, who discovered their talent for shooting in their 60s and went on to win multiple shooting championships.
In the late 1990s, when Chandro (Bhumi Pednekar) and Prakashi (Taapsee Pannu) lie to their husbands and go for a shooting tournament for the first time the story takes us into a flashback to the 1950s when Prakashi entered her husband's house as a bride. She and Chandro instantly develop a friendship that helps them go through a dreary existence at their in-laws' home.
What sets director Tushar Hiranandani's Saand ki Aankh apart from the regular female-centric films is that he highlights the issues of patriarchy and gender discrimination in the rural society aptly which is heart-melting.
Writer Balwinder Singh Janjua, tries to keep the tone of the film light even on serious matters like domestic violence. Back to the story, when Prakashi (Taapsee Pannu) Tomar enters her new home after marriage she has no idea that her friendship with Chandro will make her reach unimaginable heights someday.
One fine day the women discover their talent for shooting accidentally when one of their relatives Dr. Yashpal (Vineet Kumar) returns to the village to start a shooting range to harvest champions out of the youth of the village making it look attractive with the chances of them getting a government job.
Since the women in the family only have the freedom to go work in the fields and milk the cows, they sneak out of their homes regularly for practice and eventually for tournaments. What follows after in the story of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar's lives makes up for warm cinematic delight that does bring a smile on your face.
The most impressive thing about the Shooter Dadis is their attitude towards life and its hurdles, even in the worst of circumstances they are always hopeful and cheerful taking the life's blows with a smile on their faces. They are not the usual 90's Bollywood 'Abla Naari' they are strong women and there is a reason they are called Shooter and Revolver Dadi!
Tapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar score high in the acting department, their performance makes up for the average prosthetics that might not be liked by everyone and age inconsistency. Vineet Kumar Singh as their partner-in-crime is cheerful while Prakash Jha and Pawan Chopra deliver a great performance as the patriarchal men of the family.
Director Tushar Hiranandani, in his debut directorial, succeeds in delivering an inspiring and empowering tale told through the eyes of two 60-year old Dadis and shows us that age is no bar for achieving what you have always dreamt and where there is a will there will be a way you just have to try to find it. The music of the film is also great and adds more to the fun and the thrill of the Dadis.
All in all, it looks like Saand Ki Aankh has hit the bullseye and the criticism Bhumi and Tapsee had to go through for playing women 30 years older than their age instead of the roles going to other actress of that age has finally paid off and it was worth it. The word of mouth for the film is good and if it works in the film's favor, the makers are going to have a great Diwali. Must watch!