There are good films and then there are bad films. The Sankalp Reddy directed The Ghazi Attack, which hits the theatres on 17 February is neither good nor bad but a thoroughly engaging film. The film, with good performers like Kay Kay Menon, Atul Agnihotri and Rana Daggubati in the lead attempts to decode a mysterious war. Mysterious and controversial, because there are no proofs or almost hidden proofs of this war fought under water between India and Pakistan in 1971.
The Ghazi Attack has all the elements that a Hindi film based on Indo-Pak war is supposed to carry — rightly put drama, bureaucratic touch, emotions, and information. Carefully shown technicalities of a submarine and a gripping narrative are other highlights. Despite all of this, it lacks that great force of being a powerful patriotic film. Even with the scenes which give away patriotism on plate — officers singing National Anthem and bidding adieu to their captain who died during the attack, you miss the strong patriotic effect that Dangal, Airlift and Rang De Basanti gave you without being too loud.
The USP of The Ghazi Attack lies in the fact that it’s the first Indian film to be showing underwater war crisis. And because you haven’t seen anything like that before in Indian cinema, you get intrigued. The launching of torpidos, diving up to the unsuitable level and rising up to fight again, there are technicalities that have been taken care of fully. The Karan Johar produced film also makes for a guide for viewers with no iota of know-how about submarines. While the first half clearly emerges as lethargic highlighting the desynchronized ideologies of two senior officers — captain Rann Vijay Singh and Lieutenant Arjun Varma. While the former lives in the attack mode, the latter has a ‘follow the rules, stay calm, think and act’ attitude. The second half, however, as in most Hindi films, appears as more gripping and entertaining.
Another worth noticing the part about the film is the strategic placement of National Anthem. The Jana Gana Mana has not been used to look like an item in the film, but for both the time it comes in the story, it becomes the part of the narrative. Apart from that, no romance, no songs, not even patriotic ones have been forced in the film. And you don’t even miss these. The Bollywood lover in you demands to see romance between Rana and Taapsee, but the makers have clearly avoided that for good. Taapsee, in whatever small role of a refugee doctor she has in the film, justifies her part well. And so does late Om Puri.
The Ghazi Attack is not an unmissable watch. But, it’s not even a must-watch.