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Vaccine War Celebrates Covid Soldiers With  Some Grace



The Vaccine War

The Vaccine War

Directed  by Vivek Agnihotri

Rating: ***

Apart  from Raima Sen’s  over-the-top  villain’s  act as a  journalist who has sold out to the  American cause, the characters  in  The Vaccine War are tenable  and almost uniformly restrained and believable.

Unlike the last time when many of Vivek Agnihtori’s  critics  felt he went overboard in demonizing Kashmir’s  anti-Pandit drive, this time Agnihotri  makes the  arching  endeavour to show the birth  of India’s first Covid vaccine as a  celebration of women’s empowerment.

Admittedly the women , excluding  Raima Sen in her vamping avatar, are gracefully portrayed. Pallavi  Joshi and Girija Oak are reasonably effective as scientists toiling at the Indian Council of Medical Research to bring  out an Indian vaccine  in a  run against  time that became  headlined  in a section of the press as a battle between  over-ambition and efficacy.

Portions of  the  storytelling are admirably constructed, bringing out the stress of those  times when the Pandemic  threatened  to  snuff out countless lives while  showing the scientists in conditions  of abject despair and some humour.Udaysingh Mohite’s  camerawork is firstrate. He shoots the film in whites and pale blues giving a naturally clinical  colours.

Nana Patekar playing the main  character of Dr Balram Bhargava  comes across as a gruff often insensitive  man who could do with some serious gender tutoring. I lost count of the  number  of times he makes  Pallavi’ s Catholic  character Dr Abraham(with a  slip-on-slip-off Albert Pinto accent)  tearful with his taunts and tirades.

In normal times  Dr Bhargava’s  character  would be  guilty of harassment.The role suits  Patekar like  a glove. Sadly the talented Divya Seth who plays Patekar’s  bitter-half gets just one sequence: an ironical comment on how the vaccinators forfeited their home  life for the  Covid antidote.

Everyone is busy dishing out gyan  in this well-researched  though  verbose film, even the vamp-journalist Raima Sen’s  surprisingly well-clued in  househelp.My favourite  character is that of  Dr  Abraham gardner’s  little  son who doesn’t speak a word and  brings her a freshly plucked rose  each morning.

If only the characters  didn’t have to over-explain everything, in case  the research goes unnoticed.

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