Monday, March 12, 2007

Movie Review: 1971

Cast: Manoj Bajpai (Major Suraj Singh), Deepak Dobriyal (Ft Lt Gurtu) , Ravi Kishen (Cap Jacob), Chitranjan Giri (Subedar Ahmed), Manav Kaul (Ft Lt Ram)---special mention to guy who played Malik (cant get his name)

Direction: Amrit Sagar

Another movie which represents the growing maturity of Indian cinema. Made by a young director, the movie shows the pain of prisoners of war (POW s) captured by Pakistan in wars with India. Their existence is held in denial by both governments. When the credits roll in the end with the names of some of the POW’s who were last seen alive in 1988, the poignancy of the portrayal in the movie hits you. Kudos to Amrit Sagar

Plot: A large group of POW’s form the 1965 and 1971 wars are brought to a single place ostensibly to set them free. Major Suraj and his team refuse to believe that to be true. Soon they find out that that it is an effort by the Pakistani Govt to get a clean chit from Red Cross. Six of them plan an escape so as to take their story to the outside world. Will they succeed? Well, for that you should watch the movie.

No masala-heroines are kept away and there are 2 situational songs. There is some sentimentalism which probably drags the movie for about 5 mins, but I believe that should be overlooked. The performances are exception. Suraj is the able leader who keeps the goal in mind with support from Ahmed, Kabir and Jocob. Gurtu, Ram and Malik are the real heroes. Deepak Dobriyal as Gurtu is simply exceptional. From his casual humour to this anguish at losing his friend, to his final narrative, he makes you feel the pain. Malik as the Pakistani pilot is coolness personified. A Dev Anand ‘esque list apart he is the only sane voice in the Pakistani command shown in the movie.

The movie does not launch into vitriol. It is simply the perspective from our forgotten heroes. The pace is gripping and the narrative has some breathtaking visuals. The human rights activist (on the lines of Asma Jehangir I think) brings another perspective, but she having so much rights in a military establishment is jarring. But she gets silenced (implicitly) towards the end.

All that is left is finally…………..hope.

Rating: 7.5/10

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