Ae Watan Mere Watan review: Inspiring tale falls short of its potential

A historical thriller-drama set in 1942, Ae Watan Mere Watan tells the story of a young girl’s role in India’s struggle for freedom. The film is streaming on Prime Video.


At a very young age, an Indian girl named Usha comes to despise the British rule that has enslaved her country’s people. Usha dreams of attaining freedom for her nation. 

When she enters college, she joins the freedom movement by working for the Congress alongside her friends, Fahad and Kaushik. 

Usha’s father is a judge who benefits from British compliance, so he forbids Usha from getting involved with the Congress party. 

However, Usha is determined to do everything in her power to aid the freedom struggle, even if it means sacrificing her life. 

After the launch of the Quit India Movement and the imprisonment of all the Congress leaders, Usha decides to start her own radio station to bring the voices of the leaders to the masses. 

As a result, the British, who have banned private radio stations, target Usha and her friends. Will Usha’s voice reach the nation, or will it be silenced forever?


Sara Ali Khan plays Usha, and while she delivers Usha’s resilience through her dialogues, her excessive use of gestures feels exaggerated.

At times, her portrayal is more dramatic than natural, and it fails to make an impression on the audience. Unfortunately, the character of Usha does not stand out.

Additionally, Emraan Hashmi’s portrayal of Ram Manohar Lohia seems miscast, despite the actor’s efforts to make the role convincing. 

On the other hand, Abhay Verma and Sparsh Shrivastav deliver convincing performances as Kaushik, deeply in love, and Fahad, a passionate student fighting for independence.


The film depicts the dilemma of having to choose between one’s family and one’s responsibility. Doing the right thing sometimes comes at a cost. 

While the film focuses on those who made sacrifices for their country’s independence, it does not make the mistake of portraying everyone as such. 

The narrative includes those who were compliant with the colonizers, providing a realistic picture of the freedom struggle and highlighting the special nature of the characters’ sacrifices. 

Additionally, the film features scenes that offer a brief glimpse of the oppression faced by the colonized in their fight for their rights, some of which are quite impactful. 

Sara Ali Khan’s eloquence makes her the perfect voice for the radio in the film. It makes the audience want to hear more from her.


As it is a thriller, there are chases and narrow escapes, but they lack the intensity and tension necessary to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. 

Apart from that, the film emphasizes symbolic gestures to evoke a sense of patriotism in the audience. 

However, symbolic gestures do not always bring about change, especially when there is no rationale behind them. 

For instance, a group of students charging to face the police with their flags, knowing that it is unlikely to accomplish much, becomes an empty gesture that fails to evoke patriotism.

Furthermore, the film’s understanding of sacrificing one’s life for one’s country is quite simplistic; it lacks depth. 

The characters are too eager to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of their country, which diminishes the gravity of the act. 

Additionally, the film fails to do justice to the character of Usha. Despite her willingness to sacrifice her life, her actions betray a sense of self-absorption.

Her fight for the nation’s independence becomes more about her self-fulfillment. If the film aimed to depict personal growth through involvement in the freedom struggle, it did not succeed, as there is hardly any character development or self-reflection.

On top of that, comparing her lack of privilege as a woman to that of a person with a disability, and then challenging them to race with her, does not make her very likable. 

The characters in the film reiterate their dedication to the freedom movement. It would have had a greater impact if the film had limited itself to depicting this dedication through their actions alone. 

Furthermore, the film’s dialogue could have been improved. The stilted conversations and declarations disrupt the flow and prevent the audience from becoming fully invested.


Ae Watan Mere Watan had the potential to be a good film. However, the film failed to do justice to the life and work of Usha Mehta.

Instead, it ended up being just another forgettable film inspired by the life of an inspiring woman.

Ae Watan Mere Watan
Ae Watan Mere Watan review: Inspiring tale falls short of its potential 1

Director: Kannan Iyer

Date Created: 2024-03-21 00:00

Editor's Rating:

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