Film: The Ghazi Attack
Director: Sankalp Reddy
Cast: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri, Rahul Singh and Taapsee Pannu
Genre: Historical, War-Drama
Bollywood seems to be so keen on cashing in on the rising wave of nationalistic fervour that is sweeping the country currently, that it defies logic at times.
And logic defying is the latest from the assembly line, The Ghazi Attack. What was touted as India’s first realistic war film (Border, Lakshya anyone?), feels anything but, as time and time again our heroes refuse to be beaten and as the final round’s bell tolls, deal a sucker punch of their own.
While debutant director Sankalp Reddy does an able job of introducing the major protagonists and their mission, The Ghazi Attack just has too many holes and by the end of its two-hour runtime, there isn't much that can be salvaged.
The year is 1971, with East Pakistan teetering on the edge and ready to be pronounced Bangladesh.
Islamabad realises they are losing their vice-like grip and despatch the PNS Ghazi to supply their stranded troops with some much-needed supplies. Along the way, a bonus target in the form of INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s prized possession, awaits.
To the tricolours’ rescue is S-21, an Indian Navy submarine, commandeered by the hot-head Captain Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon). His able deputies, even if they don’t see eye to eye with him on certain issues, are Executive Officer Devraj (Atul Kulkarni) and Lt Commander Arjun Varma (Rana Daggubati). The three aforementioned actors give a decent account of themselves, not helped by a script that just makes much noise without much bang, simply put.
How they manage to outfox a submarine that not only is outfitted with superior technology, but has among the finest naval officer Pakistan has to offer, is the crux of the tale.
With cliches that run close to 300 feet deep and unnecessarily dramatic backstories, The Ghazi Attack is a classic example of taking some good source material and churning out a preachy, overly-dramatised story of underwater hide and seek. Too often, the viewer is asked to take a leap of faith and after a point of time, you want the film to be over and done with.
It’s India vs Pakistan guys, even a U-19 cricket match has dollops of tension. We don’t need jarring background scores and son of the soil speeches to make it larger than life. It already is.
However, the brave attempt to shoot a film that is largely underwater should be appreciated, as a project such as this requires vision and expertise to even attempt, let alone execute. And as the torpedoes in the film largely miss the mark, so does The Ghazi Attack. Perhaps if the vision had toned down the sepia a bit and added a dash of realism, it wouldn't have been as humdrum as it is.