GHAZI STORY : Set in 1971, Ghazi traces the underwater warfare between the Indian submarine, S-21 and Pakistan’s PNS Ghazi. Based on the mysterious sinking of the Ghazi, the war drama unfolds under the waters of Bay of Bengal.
GHAZI MOVIE REVIEW : “The war you did not know about” – is a fitting tagline for Ghazi. As the legend goes, PNS Ghazi sunk under mysterious circumstances and the Indian and Pakistan Navy have varying accounts as to why. Ghazi takes into account verified facts and adds a strategic and dramatic imagination to it. And the director has done an impeccable job at it.
Ghazi opens to a brief about the political scenario between Pakistan and India and its influence on the decisions taken by the armed forces. In a classified mission to intercept a suspected attack on the East coast of India, INS Vikrant sets sail with the submarine S-21, captained by hot-headed Commander Rann Vijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon). And to balance his aggression, Lieutenant Commander Arjun Varma (Rana Daggubati) is assigned to make sure India only defends and doesn’t attack first. Executive Officer Devaraj (Atul Kulkarni) plays the bridge between the two officers who butt heads over their difference of opinions.
RV Singh, Devaraj and Arjun Varma depict quite a well-marked alignment of good in the first half. Singh is the chaotic good of the trio with his philosophy of ‘save the nation not by dying for it but by killing the enemy – even if it takes difficult decisions to achieve it. Arjun is lawful good and believes in following the rules to the T while Devaraj represents neutral good who is unbiased and the peacemaker between the two extremes. This conflict keeps the first half engaging besides the scenes that sets the stage for the big confrontation later. The second half however is where the actual drama unfolds. Even though you might feel the scenes are a little draggy, it undoubtedly adds to the anticipation. Reminiscent of a chess game, with the two crews guessing and trying to defeat the next move of the opposition, the film keeps you hooked. You will gasp, cheer and swear as the Indian Navy does on screen.
Rana Daggubati was the star in this film but Kay Kay Menon was the hero. His performance as the stern Commander was so convincing that you would instantly hate his arrogance and yet love his dexterity. His cold commanding stare could penetrate the screen and send a chill down your spine. Rana’s skill however, shines through in the second half in what was possibly his best performance yet. Atul Kulkarni too as usual brought the character to life. Rahul Singh, who plays Commander Razzaq (and the neutral evil) of Pakistan also did a commendable job, particularly against actors of that calibre.
Sankalp Reddy evidently knew what he was doing. He ensured that every minute detail was taken care of particularly considering the genre he was treading as a debutant. Kudos to that. Ghazi is one-of-its-kind, a must watch and certainly will be a milestone for the genre of war drama in Indian cinema.