The Ghazi Attack: A reasonable engaging war thriller

Film: The Ghazi Attack

Cast: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri, Taapsee Pannu, Rahul Singh, Nassar

Director: Sankalp Reddy

The Ghazi Attack (also released as Ghazi in Telugu) is an Indian war genre film directed by debutant Sankalp Reddy. The story of the film refers to the mysterious sinking of the PNS Ghazi during the Indo-Pak war of 1971—which Indian intelligence claim as Indian counter-action while Pakistani forces claim as an accident. Sankalp & Niranjan Reddy cut a swathe through the high seas of Vishakapatnam in order to fashion this patriotically frenzied version of deshbhakti that may not exactly be the truth—especially since all documentation relating to the sinking are classified.

The filmmakers are decent enough to acknowledge that fact with a disclaimer that says it all. The film is inspired by historic events but is also a pure work of fiction. Consider this though. India’s only aircraft carrier was under threat of PNS Ghazi and it took an underwater crew from the S-21 (originally INS Rajput) of patriotic Indians to stave off a disaster that could well have happened.

As fiction goes, this is as feverishly excitable as it can get. And with Amitabh Bachchan lending voice to the narrative there’s a whole deal of excitement to be had (to start with).Capt Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon) a rebel of sorts, his second-in-command Devaraj (Atul Kulkarni) and righteous Arjun (Rana Daggubati) are assigned to the S-21 on a classified search mission, after a cryptic code tips-off the Indian Navy of a Pakistani vessel infiltrating the Indian waters. Ghazi is meant to target INS Vikrant in order to reach East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by sea. So the face-off between the two subs forms the main section of the story.

Such an effort has never been attempted for the Indian screens before and the scale and mammoth task undertaken, should be appreciated at least. Sankalp Reddy invests his efforts in getting the character play into orbit. So the drama is all within close confines and the characters take it forward through timely interceptions and counter intelligence.

The performers are all gung-ho and over-the-top and spuriously inconsistent, making the effort seem unreal and illogical to boot. The dialogues also don’t add integrity to the enterprise. It doesn’t help that unnecessary characters are added on (like the one played by Taapsee Pannu) and the main leads are made to behave like egoistic idiots.

The cinematography is competent enough, underwater sequences look fairly believable and the scripted handicap (the S-21 malfunction due to a landmine blast) for showcasing the presence of mind of the Indian officers is handled believably. The pacing and tempo fuel tension in the effort. This film may not compare to Hollywood standards in terms of scale or budget but it certainly can get you going with its high tension theatrics and engaging one-upmanship. Worth a watch I guess!

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