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Stop Paying Lip Service to the Armed Forces – Make a good War Movie

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By: The Cinema Cynic
In a year where the security forces have suffered heavy casualties in their seemingly unending and thankless battle against Pakistan’s proxy terrorists, Bollywood has been quick to express solidarity with the casualties, even as many members of its “ruling elite” have seemed more concerned about their ability to hire and/or work with Pakistani actors. The surgical strikes met with lukewarm support from the Bollywood fraternity though any attack on the security forces was usually met with strong condemnation.
It is all well and good to express solidarity with the military but we have to ask, when was the last time Bollywood made a good war movie that told the story of India’s military in combat?
2017 tempts war movie buffs like me with the prospect of Sankalp Reddy’s The Ghazi Attack which purports to tell the story of Indian submarine S21 and I await the results with some trepidation. Manoj Bajpayee’s superb 1971 aside (this was not really a war movie but a PoW story), there has not been an Indian war movie since J.P. Dutta’s valiant failure in LoC Kargil of 2003 and Farhan Akhtar’s impressive effort Lakshya of 2004. These two films followed the enjoyable but deeply flawed Border of 1997. In all three cases, the directors wrecked potentially superb war movies by some shoddy directorial work, poor camera positioning, corny dialogue and, worst of all, trying insert sickeningly cloying love-dramas into war movies, complete with singing and dancing.
This attempt to be everything to everyone does not work for war movies which must perforce be intense, violent and touching all simultaneously. There is no room in a war movie for anything other than the intensity of combat and the human drama that entails. There is certainly no room for choreographed dance sequences complete with lip-synching actors.
For a country that has fought four major wars, participated in a large-scale intervention in Sri Lanka and fought an intense but undeclared war in Kargil – not to mention combat in Siachen or with UN Peacekeeping operations and India’s very significant role in World War Two – India has made remarkably few war movies.
Of these, 1964s Haqeeqat stands out as a remarkably heartfelt tribute to India’s disastrous 1962 war with China. The next war movie of real quality was the 1973 version of Hindustaan ki Kasam which featured some superb footage of low-level air strikes and some of the best colour video footage of the Indian Air Force of the early 1970s. While the acting was decidedly mediocre, the plot was intriguing and the intensity of the aerial action made up for a lot. Aakraman of 1975 was a poor film. While there were some good combat scenes, the excessive melodrama, clichéd dialogue and very un-soldierly bearing and appearance of the lead actors combined to ruin the movie.
An unsung classic was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Indian Air Force in 1982. Vijeta was probably the most technically accomplished India war movie to date. Not completely flawless, this film nonetheless took the story of an IAF pilot trainee through the phases of training and into combat in a MiG-21. While never naming the enemy explicitly, the movie culminates in a Longewala-type armoured attack being stopped by a combination of Indian artillery and air strikes.
Since then, what did we get? J.P. Dutta’s films did not live up to their potential and their battle sequences were contrived.
Having Suneil Shetty chase down a Pakistani tank with a mine in his arms in Border was just preposterous as was Akshaye Khanna shoving his pistol into his waistband despite having a holster. In addition, (just as in Haqeeqat) it was glaringly obvious that many of the actors were not firing their rifles but just simulating recoil. This was not repeated in either LoC Kargil or Lakshya but in both those films, some better camerawork and lighting could have improved the battle scenes – not to mention better scripting.
India’s restrictive weapons rules for cinema have hampered filmmakers quite badly, with the otherwise superlative Madras Café and Haider (neither of which are strictly speaking war movies) having to make unfortunate compromises for their combat scenes (in the case of the latter, the urban insurgency scenes). This seemed to change for the better with Baby where for the first time a variety of weapons were shown as actually being fired adding to the realism of the action (remember the prison van escape scene?). However, Tubelight seems to revert to mediocrity as [tooltip id=”88b6af99531f838ed90aed058b7d870a”][tooltip id=”c1b465420d07c688942ed18eadfd9f92″ keyword_color=”#000000″ background_color=”#ffffff”][tooltip id=”4db8f5608d45f5de7881d9bce162f4bf”]Salman Khan[/tooltip][/tooltip][/tooltip] is shown in combat gear carrying what is obviously a badly made mock-up of a rifle.
It is time that Bollywood shed its all-embracing cloak of mediocrity and make a war movie worthy of the Indian armed forces. We may be impressed with Hacksaw Ridge, or Saving Private Ryan, or harken back to Patton and The Longest Day but we have failed to tell the story of India’s heroes.
Will there be a story of the 21year old hero of the Battle of Basantar – 2nd Lt. Arun Khetarpal – whose ageing Centurion Famagusta took on  Patton tanks of Pakistan’s 13th Lancers? Or will Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon’s story be told of one Gnat against six Sabres over Srinagar? Maybe even the story of the “Killers” missile boat raid on Karachi? Perhaps somebody will be willing to even recreate the Battle of Asal Uttar and CQMH Abdul Hamid’s heroic stand? What about Indian soldiers in the Western Desert against Rommel, in Burma against the Japanese or in Mesopotamia against the Turks?
These are stories of India’s military past that need to be told. Old soldiers are dying and military history is not something that has ever been India’s academic strongpoint. Will the coming generations know of India’s heroes? Or will they be treated to a view of war entirely through Western eyes with the only genuflection Bollywood makes in that direction being some nauseating love story set against a war?
India’s armed forces deserve better than that. Their stories deserve to be told honestly and properly with adequate attention paid to realism and visual effects.
The efforts to date have been at best honourable failures, with some undoubtedly better than others. It is a damning indictment of Bollywood ’s priorities that India’s best war movies were made between 1964 and 1982 with the 21stcentury producing at best honourable failures in this genre.
It is hoped that India’s actors, directors, producers, and the armed forces can collaborate in a venture truly worthy of the real heroes of the Indian nation. They have earned the right to be remembered with dignity, with honour and with some cinematic excellence.

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Why On  Earth Is Sushmita Sen Smoking A Cigar In Aarya’s First  Look?

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Aarya

Season 3  of Aarya is being shot as  you read this, and naturally Sushmita Sen is  super-kicked about it, so kicked that she has put  out a  video where she is seen  in the  best Lady Boss version of herself.

Alarmingly, she is seen puffing away at a  cigar, to  complete her Badass Lady Boss image.

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 There was a  time when women smoking  cigarettes  in Hindi cinema signaled vampishness. If a female actor was  shown smoking it meant she had evil designs  over the  hero, and life in general.

 Sushmita being Sushmita, a cigarette won’t do. A  cigar it is, to go with her formidable image. The last Bollywood actor I saw smoking a cigar  on screen was Premnath in the 1970s. Back then so  many  people didn’t die of cancer  by smoking.

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 These are  different far more dangerous  and deadly times.

Sushmita is an iconic  actor.She  needs to be more careful about the image  she projects . Smoking  a  cigar doesn’t  enhance a woman’s(or a  man’s) muscle power. Nor does it make her look cool.

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About shooting for the third season of Aarya  Sushmita says, “Aarya is synonymous with my name.  I have lived as Aarya for two whole seasons and the love received by the audiences has only encouraged me to do more. Walking on the sets of Aarya Season 3 makes me feel at home and gives me  a sense of empowerment. I’m grateful to the entire team at Disney+ Hotstar, Ram Madhvani Films and Endemol Shine India for the vision of creating Aarya and taking it to newer heights with every season.”

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Shah Rukh, Deepika, John Will Meet The Media  On Monday At 4 pm(But There’s  A Catch)

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Pathaan

Pathaan has effectually discredited the  efficacy  of media interactions to promote  a  film. The  film’s lead actors Shah Rukh  Khan, Deepika Padukone  and John Abraham did not conduct any  press or portal interviews  to  promote the  film.

And  yet Pathaan  is  a blockbuster.

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 This  weekend  the Pathaan producer Aditya  Chopra  of  Yash Raj Films  took a call on behalf  of  the Pathaan team  to do one media  meet at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai  on Monday January 30 at 4 pm.

The  three principal actors  and  director Siddharth Malhotra  will address  the  media.

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 But  here’s the catch: the media will not be allowed to ask any questions. There will be no  Q& A s or  one-on-one  interactions.This  basically means that the  Pathaan  team will  have an opportunity to  say what it wants  to the media. But the  media will have no say.

Make what  you will of this  one-way traffic.

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A  source close  to Yash Raj informs  me that this is  the   pattern  regarding the media that  Yash Raj will follow for  future  releases: no  press meets  no promotional  engagements.

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Fake Projects of Pathaan Director Being Planted In Media

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Pathaan

Siddharth Anand Denies Considering  Any Project With  Deepak Mukut

A  word of caution to those marketing and publicity wizkids  who think  it’s okay to  plant fake stories  on (fake) projects  with the Pathaan director.

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 It is  not.

Such baseless announcements  are meant only to  raise  the equity  of the  producers  with whom Siddharth   Anand’s name is  linked. One  such  producer whose name  has cropped up after the  spectacular success of  Pathaan is  Deepak Mukut.

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There were  reports  everywhere that Siddharth Anand’s next would  be with Mukut.

Turned out to be a false rumour.

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A  source in the  know informs, “Siddharth now has to complete Fighter  starring Hrithik Roshan and  Deepika Padukone  for Yash Raj.Then  he  is   committed to direct the sequel to War 2 for  Yash Raj films.  They will then start  work on the  next film in the Pathaan  franchise. There is no scope  or  room for any outside  projects  for Siddharth Anand. So every announcement  that  you read of a  new film  to be  directed by Siddharth Anand  for an  outside  producer is likely to  be  a hundred  percent fake.”

When I asked Siddharth Anand  about the  supposed project  with  producer Deepak Mukut he promptly replied,  “NOT AT ALL.”

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Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

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Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

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Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

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Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

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The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

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