– BY REEMA CHHABDA
The film Bhuj: The Pride Of India begins with the battle that devastated the airstrip. Soldiers at the Bhuj airbase were caught off guard and defenseless as Pakistani jets dropped bomb after bomb. The damage on the ground as well as in their eyes was enough to make your heart sink.
What would Karnik do to get the situation back on track? And if he fails, the enemy might seize one of India’s most strategic airbases. There is no other option at this juncture; Pakistan and India are at war in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh. And Bhuj is crucial for both countries, as an invasion in the west would only serve to weaken India’s concentration on its eastern borders.
Ajay Devgn feels at ease in his role as IAF Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik. His calculating, trustworthy Indian soldier who will save the day is swiftly established by his quiet but resolute gaze. It certainly helped that bits and pieces of news items from the period are still circulating in the public consciousness.
However, Karnik is not the only hero in the narrative, and this is where the film Bhuj and the historical events Bhuj differ. Sharad Kelkar’s RK Nair, Sanjay Dutt’s Ranchhod Pagi, Ammy Virk’s Flight Lieutenant Vikram Singh, and the women of Madhapar, a village near Bhuj, led by Sonakshi Sinha’s Sunderben Jetha, all desire a piece of the pie.
Direction and cinematography:
What happened on the western border, on the other hand, is rarely described, and director Abhishek Dudhaiya doesn’t pull any punches or mince words. A trio of fantastic technicians works together to dramatize a real war: action (Peter Hein, RP Yadav), cinematography (Aseem Bajaj), and special effects (Aseem Bajaj) (NY VFXWAALA).
A masala factory brawl, Nora Fatehi’s feisty and muscular clash, and then stoned to death scenario are just a few of the parts where the trio blends its expertise for a good visual effect.
To keep the action rolling, a slew of new characters are introduced. Nora Fatehi plays Heena Rehman, a Sehmat-like female mole working within Pakistani intelligence’s upper echelons. It’s nice to see her step away from the item numbers.
The spy vs spy mechanism is brought to life by Ranchoddas Pagi, which features Sanjay Dutt in a pagdi. Col RK Nair, a Malayalee married to a Muslim girl back home in Kerala, is played by Sharad Kelkar, who represents both the inclusive Indian and the patriot who will give his last drop of blood to defend his nation.
Ammy Virk, who plays Vikram Singh, is a charming Punjabi actor who embodies the Sikh fighting spirit. Sunderben, the sherni of Gujarat, is played by Sonakshi Sinha, who leads the rural women who assist restore the airstrip just in time.
But the limelight belongs to Ajay Devgn as Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik, who is always so encouraging as a leader you can trust, who would get the task done no matter what. But his performance in the film is like a sleepwalk which comes as a disappointment.
Overall, Bhuj: The Pride Of India features a fascinating subject and a cast of some amazing actors. However, it fails miserably to deliver an intriguing story. It ends up being yet another Bollywood blockbuster that fails miserably on OTT.