Debutant director Sankalp Reddy comes up with India’s first underwater war film and needs to be lauded for his superb attempt. Well scripted and brilliantly directed, The Ghazi Attack is a gritty tale of the possible events which could have led to the sinking of Pakistan’s Naval submarine ‘PNS Ghazi’ near Vishakapatnam on 3rd December, 1971.
Though at the beginning of the film there is a big disclaimer stating that it is a fictional account and cannot claim authenticity, yet some of the startling facts revealed about the war at the end of the film succeed in making us believe this fictional account of courage and heroism of our Indian Navy. It is said there is still a mystery shrouding the sudden sinking of PNS Ghazi on 3rd December and coincidentally it is a fact that on the same day Pakistan launched a series of pre-emptive air strikes on Indian airfields…
The movie starts with the rich baritone of Amitabh Bachchan briefing us about the tense political scenario existing in 1971 in the Indian subcontinent with fighting and mayhem on both sides of our border (East Pakistan and West Pakistan-as they were known then) adding to the chaos. It is against this backdrop that the war drama unfolds and directly gets to the plot with no distraction and maintains the grip to engage the audience for the next 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The Indian Naval headquarters intercepts a coded message which makes them suspicious of a very sophisticated and powerful Pakistani submarine ‘PNS Ghazi’ ‘to have entered our waters surreptitiously. To rule out the possibility of any impending secret attack and to be on high alert, the Indian Naval High Command decides to send our own submarine ‘S-21’ to search the waters around The Bay of Bengal. There are strict orders to keep it a classified mission and to not make the first attack without orders from headquarters.
Thereafter the movie takes us on a thrilling ride of attacks and counterattacks with firing of torpedoes adding to the excitement. Some scenes give us goosebumps and the movie definitely makes us pause and salute our armed forces as they go about facing dangers and making sacrifices to protect our borders for the safety of the citizens. The film is indeed a tribute to The Indian Navy!
THE PLUS POINTS
Heading this mission are Captain Rann Vijay Singh played by Kay Kay Menon, Lt. Commander Arjun Verma played by Rana Daggubatti and Execitive Officer Devraj played by Atul Kulkarni. Apart from dealing with the tension of the enemy submarine, the crew is witness to the tension mounting inside S-21 in the form of clash between the Captain and his Lieutenant-at every step. Atul Kulkarni as the XO tries to pacify them both but is clearly inclined towards the Captain in his support.
The performances of these brilliant actors and the authentic atmosphere recreated inside the submarine form the USP of the film. Each one of them has done a brilliant job and makes the mission look so believable. The supporting crew members are all unknown faces thus adding to the authenticity of the proceedings. It was nice watching Om Puri who fits the role of the Naval High Command perfectly. This is probably one of the last films he acted in.
The director takes his time to introduce us to the working of a submarine and skilfully manoeuvres the riveting plot by alternating the scenes between the Indian and Pakistani officers and their attack strategies. Shots of torpedo attacks add thrill to the proceedings.
WORTH A WATCH ?
It is not that the movie is without minor flaws. There are places when the proceedings get a little dramatic and the special effects of the underwater shots could have been better but there is no doubt that the film has its heart in the right place. These points can easily be overlooked as they do not in any way take away the essence of the film.
Our industry is not known to make too many war films and even if they do the plot generally deals with Army (Haqeeqat, Border, LOC Kargil, etc.). Films like Vijeta and Mausam had the hero playing a fighter pilot. This is perhaps the first attempt at a full-length naval war film played out at the seas and it is definitely worth a dekko!
Once in a while it feels nice to just watch a film for its story and cinematic experience where the director does not have to twist a good plot to cater to a star’s image and The Ghazi Attack is one such film…
The film has been made simultaneously in Hindi and Telugu and dubbed in Tamil. The Hindi version has been distributed by Karan Johar.
Here is the trailer of the film: