A director who has not made anything worthwhile in years, a star who has seen better days, a nepo kid in search of a big break, and one box-office diamond in their vault. Gadar 2 was inevitable, even if the sequel has arrived 22 years later. Which by itself is not a problem, but it also comes with an outdated filmmaking style.

Anil Sharma’s Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, released in 2001 alongside the far more accomplished Lagaan, is one of the top grossers of all time. Sunny Deol had the star power to carry off extravagant action sequences. The scene in which he yanked out a hand pump and took on the Pakistani army was hilariously over the top. That iconic pump makes a guest appearance in Gadar 2, in a sequence that is begging to be lampooned.

In the first film, Tara Singh saved Sakina (Ameesha Patel) from rioters and married her. When her father (Amrish Puri) forcibly took her to Pakistan, Tara Singh went there like a wrecking ball to bring her back. Now years later, their grown-up son Jeete (Utkarsh Sharma) is aspiring to be a film actor. The first half of the film has large chunks of recap, including two hit songs being repurposed.

While Tara is playing family man, Pakistani General Hamid Iqbal (Manish Wadhwa) is gnashing his teeth over the last defeat, and dreaming of “Ghazwa -e- Hind”. It is 1971, war clouds are hovering, and after a skirmish, Tara is feared to have been captured and taken prisoner.

Jeete sneaks into Lahore to rescue him from a “top secretive” cell. It is just an excuse for him to sing, dance and acquire a love interest (Simrat Kaur). This part of the film could easily have been cut or chopped off entirely, because the aim was to get Tara to Pakistan and extract the son, decimating Lahore in the process.

Hamid ties them to canons and sneers, “Ab kya ukhaadoge?” Tara obliges him. Armed soldiers can’t hit a stationary target; no bullet can hit Tara & Son, no rope can restrain them. The Pakistanis need armored tanks, Tara just has to roar and entire platoons rear back in terror.

It would have been funny if the background music was not so ear-splitting. The use of music, like the rest of the film, is old-fashioned.

Sunny Deol shouts all his patriotic lines, even when the recipient of the bombast is two feet from his face. A sequel also means the resurrection of Ameesha Patel, whose make-up must have been applied with a trowel, and whose kiss curls appear to have been held in place with industrial-strength glue.

If Gadar was accused of jingoism, the sequel multiples it. Tara Singh tells Hamid that Muslims are so happy in India, that if Pakistanis were able to migrate across the border, half of the country would empty out! The only reaction to this can be a facepalm.

Gadar 2 (2023).