Cast: Arjun Ramphal, Gurmeet Choudhary, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff, Harshvardhan Rane, Siddhanth Kapoor, Luv Sinha
Director: J P Dutta
Rating: * *
A historical war drama that revolves around the 1967 Indo-China, Nathu-La military conflict in which India was able to win back Sikkim, this film by war drama veteran J P Dutta goes through all the motions with dedicated earnestness. Unfortunately, the pulsating energy and storytelling craft that gave us ‘Border’ is sorely missing.
A minor skirmish between the two sides turns into a full-blown conflict and soldiers from both sides engage combatively. But the battle fatigues alone don’t do enough to make the conflict seem insurmountable. J P Dutta is unable to raise the tempo even in the heat of battle. And his actors fail to make the characters they play, memorable.
Arjun Ramphal as Lt Col. Raj Singh, Sonu Sood as Major Bishen Singh, and their respective teams consisting of Harshvardhan Rane, Siddhant Kapoor, Gurmeet Choudhary, Luv Sinha play it loud and toonish. None of the characters are developed well enough to curry favour from a discerning audience. The Chinese side is even more poorly represented in terms of craft and screen presence. When the enemy seems so feeble why would anyone be interested? The narrative is not designed to create excitement enough to fuel nation love in earnest.
The narrative drag thereof is pretty much insurmountable. Jingoistic sloganeering aside, there’s nothing here that can capture the imagination or spear the heart. The story telling style is decadent and unviable. JP Dutta’s judgement and craft are questionable here. The inordinately long set-up and exposition drains you out completely, leaving little patience for a climax that appears rousing merely because it signifies an Indian Victory. This film is a lost cause so-to-speak!