Director: Vivek Agnihotri
Cast: Nana Patekar, Pallavi Joshi, Raima Sen, Nivedita Bhattacharya and others
Where: In theatres near you
Rating: 3.5 stars
One of the most controversial filmmakers of our Indian cinema, Vivek Agnihotri brings a fact-based narrative of India’s homegrown indigenous vaccine named Covaxin to fight against the pandemic back in 2020. A lot of filmmakers have depicted the aftermath of lives dealing with novel coronavirus and nationwide lockdown, however, Vivek has a different approach to telling the scenario in more of a science drama.
Director General Dr. Balram Bhargava (Nana Patekar) issues emergency alerts to his colleagues at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with the Director, of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Dr. Priya Abraham (Pallavi Joshi) and Dr. Pragya Yadav (Nivedita Bhattacharya) after cases started to spread through a seafood market in Wuhan, China.
Rohini Singh Dhulia (Raima Sen), a reputed Science Editor at a leading media portal The Daily Wire only aims to shun down all the efforts attempted by ICMR-NIV. What happens next raises the debate about whether India CAN do it or India CAN’T do it.
The beauty of this film is that Vivek takes back to the history of where and how it all began. He divides his narrative into ten chapters— Patient 0, The Battle of Iran, Isolation, BB152B, Pre-human trials, The Lockdown, 15th Aug, A Nation on Fire, and The Final Battle.
Vivek’s first half is a solid winner. It has an engaging feel right from the first frame to the interval slate. His second half dips a little bit and slightly has a below-average climax— in totality, The Vaccine War is an unglorified testimony of India’s big win against the deadly virus. He has shown the technical process of what happens at ICMR, its co-relationship with NIV, the interpersonal relationships of scientists and their loved ones, and so on.
Besides the fact that Vivek is palatable to the current political fabric of our country, he has made a great film— his screenplay is taut, endearing, and interesting, surely a notch higher than his last The Kashmir Files.
Nana Patekar is back and he adds a lot to Vivek’s writing and approach to his film. His silences and pauses add humour and make you teary-eyed simultaneously. Pallavi Joshi is fantastic, and confident and allows you empathise with her throughout. Nivedita Bhattacharya is a shining star of the film. She is believed to a vast extent. So-called antagonist Raima Sen is commendable. Her potential as an actor is significant. Anupam Kher has nothing much to do in this one as it's a Nana’s show all over.
The Vaccine War is a must-watch, however, the film deals with many theories lies beneath, conflicts with the World Health Organisation (WHO), conspiracies of China to become a World power, and so on. No matter, if you are a leftist or rightist— The Vaccine War is a great FILM.