One of the most intriguing aspects of the Star Wars Visions project is allowing different countries to infuse their culture into the Star Wars universe. Of all the studios that have been a part of the project, few accomplish this more unapologetically than 88 Pictures in Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7. Directed by Ishan Shukla, “The Bandits of Golak” follows two siblings on the run from Empire as they search for sanctuary and a better life.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 opens with siblings Rani (Sonal Kausha) and older brother Charuk (Suraj Sharma) on a train together full of a colorful array of aliens from across the Star Wars universe and most notably, Imperial stormtroopers. While Charuk tries to maintain a low profile, her sister Rani is largely unaware of the potential danger the duo is in. Rani’s naivety and whimsy make her adorable and one to root for immediately. However, when she taps into her Force sensitivity while on the train their secret is revealed to the Empire, and a mad dash ensues to secure her safety.
Force-sensitive children in the wake of the collapse of the Jedi Order are not something often explored outside the franchise’s titular series. Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 is a great example of what the story of a character may look like who is not part of the Rebellion or draws a lineage from a powerful bloodline. Most importantly with the Sith Inquisitors on the search for children like Rani, it highlights the importance of which side of the galactic conflict finds these children first. Following in the steps of Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Bandits of Golak shows how vital the Jedi underground railroad was after the fall of the Republic.
While Rani is the focus of most of the attention in the episode, it is Charuk who stands out to me. Once Force-sensitive children are taken from their families, we rarely see what that does to the family members themselves. In Charuk’s heart, he knows where this journey with his sister will eventually end even if Rani does not know that herself. Charuk is proof that not all heroes in Star Wars wield a lightsaber or political power. It takes a tremendous of courage to protect the ones from the Empire. It is even more daunting to do it alone without the support of any major faction. Charuk is proof that not all heroes in Star Wars wield a lightsaber or political power; especially when you know that road may lead to the last time you see your loved one.
Where Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 stands apart from other installments in this season is its integration of culture into Star Wars. Not only does The Bandits of Golak bring in powerhouse actors like Suraj Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, and Lillete Dubey but it also has many staples found in Bollywood media. From Star Wars-inspired sarees to music filled with sitar and other Indian instruments to slow-mo action sequences, there is no question the team at 88 Pictures put all of themselves into the project. The episode opens the door for future installments of Star Wars Visions do to the same.
While Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 may not subvert expectations for the conclusion of its story, it does not stop it from being a love letter to fans of Bollywood films and the Star Wars franchise. Fans can come in expecting all of the stellar animation and action you would come to expect from 88 Pictures but will stay for the endearing story of a brother trying to protect his sister. The Bandits of Golak still embodies all the things that make a Star Wars story relatable while infusing Indian culture into the franchise, creating something entirely new.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 is streaming now exclusively on Disney+.
Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 — “The Bandits of Golak”
While Star Wars Visions Volume 2 Episode 7 may not subvert expectations for the conclusion of its story, it does not stop it from being a love letter to fans of Bollywood films and the Star Wars franchise
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