February 15, 2017 5:14:13 pm
Ghazi movie cast: Rana Daggubati, Taapsee Pannu, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri
Ghazi movie Director: Sankalp
Ghazi movie rating: 3.5 star
Ghazi has turned a long-forgotten page of India and Pakistan’s fraught history. PNS Ghazi, Pakistan’s submarine and its Navy’s beast, was sunk off the Indian coast while the two countries were in the midst of a war in 1971. Both the countries had different versions of what happened to the submarine. Now, after all those decades, Ghazi starring Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon and Taapsee Pannu is revisiting the faded pages of history. And what a retelling it is!
The story almost immediately focusses on what warfare is all about: logic, discipline, rules, precision and execution. And making it all possible in an underwater scenario is a rare feat that Indian cinema has never seen before.
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Before going further, here is the big revelation: The film defies the three principles from the rulebook of practically all contemporary films. First, when Tollywood is replete with films that make the hero appear nothing less than a god straight off Olympus, Ghazi clings to teamwork and power is distributed equally among everyone in the story. From the submarine (S21) Captain to the sonar boy, every character has a vital contribution to the narrative, which, of course, was driven by the three torpedoes of the story: Arjun (Rana Daggubati), Capt. Ranvijay (Kay Kay Menon) and Devraj (Atul Kulkarni). Blurring the lines that “only heroes have important and major parts”, Ghazi puts everyone in the limelight in respective order of their jobs, making a realistic presentation on how the Naval hierarchy works and how only teamwork can make it more effective.
Secondly, when a director can resist his desire to drop a halo above hero’s head and make other cast members visible, logic and script get some breathing space. Sankalp has worked on every minute detail about the submarine and its functioning. From the depth control to distance gauging, pressure check and torpedo manoeuvring, the entire story has a logical and realistic approach with proper interlinking among the phases in the narrative. While we could assume Arjun alone would somehow make the misery go away and win the war, he does so with a huge logistical support from the sub’s crew. However, Taapsee might have got a bit more meaningful space.
Lastly, when an antagonist in the story is given more space to manoeuvre and control the narrative, there emerges a balance and a sense of climax. We might be thinking that if the story is about how PNS Ghazi was sunk, we might as well glorify the war with uber-patriotism that could never give space to a baddie (that too from Pakistan navy?). But that’s not the case, Ghazi submarine captain Raza is given leeway to appear as a challenge to make it seem like an actual battle. From his wit to schemes of decimating the Indian submarine, the villain is made tough enough to keep the patriotic end intact and meaningful.
While the real story behind the sinking of Ghazi is still a national secret, this fiction will make you reminisce that India bowled its way to knock all the pins that Pakistan had set.
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