SAM BAHADUR (2023 Film Review)


The 2023 Hindi-language biographical war drama film Sam Bahadur, is based on the life of Sam Manekshaw, the country’s first field marshal. Meghna Gulzar. Produced by RSVP Movies under the direction of Ronnie Screwvala. In addition to Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Neeraj Kabi, Edward Sonnenblick, and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Vicky Kaushal plays the title role in the film.

Since its December 1, 2023 release, the movie has brought in 112.12 crore (about US$14 million) in revenue globally.


            Cadet Sam Manekshaw was one of the first class of gentleman cadets to train at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1934. Tikka Khan, his junior and eventual adversary, was one of his batchmates. After earning his diploma from the academy in that same year, he was assigned to the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, Ferozpur, as a second lieutenant. He meets Siloo Bode shortly after his appointment, and they eventually become married. Manekshaw, who was elevated to the acting rank of major in 1942, is dispatched with the regiment to take part in the Burma campaign during World War II. He suffers an injury at the Battle of Sittang Bridge, but he makes it out alive and is given the Military Cross for valor.

            Major Manekshaw rejects an offer from his colleague Maj. Yahya Khan to join the Pakistan Army during the British Indian Army’s 1947 division; instead, he decides to join the Indian Army. Conflict over Kashmir’s sovereignty arises between the two nations once they get independence. Pakistan begins its military operation to seize the area in October 1947. As a result, Indian Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru send Manekshaw and V. P. Menon to Kashmir, where they are successful in gaining Kashmir’s admission into India. India launches a counterattack, but there is no victory in the conflict.

            In 1959, defense minister V. K. Krishna Menon and Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Brij Mohan Kaul approached Manekshaw, who was then a major general and Commandant of the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, to get his opinion regarding the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. K. S. Thimayya. Manekshaw rejects them, perceiving their acts as meddling in politics. But Kaul plans to thwart Manekshaw’s impending promotion by setting up a court-martial based on improper behavior; despite this, Manekshaw is cleared by his superiors.


When the Sino-Indian War breaks out in 1962, the Chinese humiliate the Indian army; Kaul steps down and Nehru fires Menon. Nehru appoints Manekshaw as the commanding officer of the IV Corps, Tezpur, and promotes him to lieutenant-general on the advice of Indira Gandhi. He suggests a move forward, but Nehru, crushed by defeat, declines; Indira intervenes on Manekshaw’s behalf. In the North-East Frontier Agency, Manekshaw is able to unite his forces by 1963. After Nehru passes away in 1964, Manekshaw is elevated to the rank of general commanding officer of the Eastern Command, and Indira is named prime minister two years later. Manekshaw participates in anti-insurgency operations against the Mizo National Front between 1965 and 1967, helping to secure the Padma Bhushan for his efforts.

When tensions among the Bengalis in East Pakistan grew in 1969, Yahya—who was by then a general—was nominated president of Pakistan; concurrently, Manekshaw was named the next COAS of the Indian Army and also rose to the rank of general. The Awami League, who are centered in East Pakistan, win the general elections in 1970, but Yahya refuses to give up power, which sparks anti-government demonstrations throughout Pakistan. In retaliation, Yahya gives lieutenant-general Tikka permission to launch Operation Searchlight, a huge anti-Bengali pogrom that he brutally and effectively puts into action. Given the circumstances, Indira is in favor of going to war, but Manekshaw is against it and points out the army’s obstacles; she decides to wait. Indira is warned by the US not to go to war, but she rejects them. The Mukti Bahini are given training by the army after it is deployed.

            Pakistan initiates the first attack, commencing preventative strikes on Indian territory on December 3, 1971. India launches counterattacks in Pakistan’s eastern and western regions right away. There are intense battles between the two armies, and Pakistan suffers heavy losses in the air, sea, and land. The conflict came to a conclusion on December 16 when the Pakistani forces in the east were overrun and submitted to the Eastern Command. In the end, Indira gains a political victory, and Yahya steps down in the face of defeat’s shame. As Manekshaw’s retirement draws near, Indira orders his promotion to field marshal in honor of his leadership during the war; he departs with pride in January 1973.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top