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The Ghazi Attack Review: This Gorgeous Underwater War Drama Is Submerged In Patriotism

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There’s no doubting the nationalistic fervour of a film such as The Ghazi Attack. For one, it has various renditions of the national anthem and “Saare Jahaan Se Achcha” woven into the narrative. 

Also, it is literally about an Indian submarine sinking a Pakistani one.

This Sankalp Reddy film is all bristling righteousness and patriotism. The film moves swiftly as the narrative pans from the internal struggle between the Captain (Kay Kay Menon hamming it up as Captain Rann Vijay) and his minder (Rana Daggubati as the stern-jawed Arjun), and over to the silent battle of wits between the Indian ship and the Pakistani one. 

Menon plays the captain as a patriotic man with a trigger-happy personality. He’s perhaps the worst person to be in charge of a submarine ship, and Arjun’s presence only aggravates that. Caught in the middle of this war of the alpha dogs is Atul Kulkarni as Devaraj, who tries hard to smooth over differences, and is perhaps the real hero of this film.

This film is based on Sankalp’s book Blue Fish, and is purportedly a version of the mysterious events that led to the sinking of PNS Ghazi off the coast of Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh just ahead of the 1971 Indo-Pak war. And so, it begins with a whole host of disclaimers:

“ALL the people associated with this film are law-abiding citizens”

“…intention is to not outrage or malign anybody”

And finally declares that it makes no claim on historical accuracy.

The film itself must be seen in that light. It is a war drama, crafted by the director; and by no means is it the whole truth.

However, The Ghazi Attack’s tight narrative and gorgeously shot visuals (cinematography by Madhie) make for a breathless visual experience that takes the viewer into the deep, dark blues of the ocean floor. War here is graceful, and claustrophobic too.

As for actress Taapsee Pannu, she plays a damsel-in-distress who spouts Bengali when she feels like it; and is probably unnecessary to what unfolds on screen.

Aside from the obvious negligence of military history, this is The Ghazi Attack’s biggest flaw. 

It’s the men’s show. And Sankalp seems content to let it remain so.

***

The film perpetuates the theory that the Indians were responsible for sinking the Pakistani submarine. It is portrayed here (rightfully so, if one goes by the Wikipedia version of events) as a sort of vanquishing of evil. The Pakistani soldiers and navy personnel are all caricatures, and Sankalp is bent on making gods out of the men who man INS Rajput.

In a time when “anti-national” is on everyone’s lips, this is not a balanced work. The Ghazi Attack is clearly a product of its times. And the theories and policies it espouses won’t encourage introspection or dialogue. But then, nothing much does at present.

*****

The Ghazi Attack review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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