Ghazi directed by debutante Sankalp Reddy is India’s first underwater war film that tries to decode the mystery behind the sinking of Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. This is a fiction story based upon real events. What stand out in Ghazi is its production design and the deft handling of the director with limited resources.
Submarine S 21 is sent on a classified mission to disrupt the plans of Pakistan naval army that is trying to target INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier for Indian Navy. Rann Vijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon) a rebellious Captain who wants to eliminate the enemy at the sight should be controlled by young officer Arjun Varma (Rana) as any amateur action could trigger the Indo-Pak war. Despite Arjun’s denial, Captain Rann Vijay launches a torpedo at Ghazi, the Pakistani submarine that is sent to create problems on the Indian east coast. The torpedo misses by a whisker and that results in the attack between both the submarines.
Rana is pretty impressive as the Navy officer. His well built body and demeanor suits the character to the T. He has matured as an actor and that can be seen in his confrontation scenes with Kay Kay Menon. Bollywood actor Kay Kay Menon hams a bit, but is effective as the rebellious captain. Taapsee has little role to play in this film. She is okay within her limitations. Atul Kulkarni has a lengthy role and does justice to it. Actors like Satyadev and Bharath Reddy lends good support to the principal cast. Rahul Singh is good as the Captain of Pakistani submarine Ghazi. Late actor Om Puri is good in his brief role.
Sankalp Reddy took a challenging script for his debut film. It is a difficult film to make as it an entirely new genre to Indian cinema. War at sea is an exciting subject on paper but it would need great amount of conviction to make it an engaging film. It is clear that Sankalp has done his homework for understanding how the submarines operate and all. He did a commendable job as a director and is a fresh talent to watch out for.
Music by K is one of the biggest plus for this film. Background score builds the tension and engrosses the audience into the film. Cinematographer Madhie is at the top of his game as he comes up with a stellar work in making this war film look real and authentic. Production design is top class and the writing is decent. Editor could have fine tuned the first half that needed a bit of trimming. Producers should be lauded for backing such a novel idea and providing sufficient funds to manufacture a quality product.
- War at Sea backdrop
- Production design
- Over the top drama
- Leisurely paced first half
Ghazi is a daring attempt from the director and its producers as well. There are a few reference films in the world cinema that are made in this subgenre, but no filmmaker from India has ever attempted to take up this subject. Ghazi is a difficult film to make and envision as the total story runs in a cramped up space with a handful of characters.
There is no scope for deviation from the proceedings as all the characters will be focused on their job. So to create drama with a few characters and to engage the audience with whatever happens in that ‘space’ is challenging to the filmmaker. Also he needs to educate the audience regarding the subject as most of the people don’t know how it works. Efforts have gone into understanding the makings of a submarine, firing of torpedoes and the duties of a captain and his subordinates.
More than ninety percent of the story happens under water and inside a submarine. So the production design has to be perfect to make us believe that we are watching real action in a real submarine. Technically, Ghazi is brilliant as every technician has come up with a wonderful output. Clearly, the director has limited resources compared to the multibillion dollar war movies that Hollywood makes.
Despite limited resources and an unfamiliar premise, director and his team of writers have done a wonderful job in creating engaging drama. The film is not short of action despite its limitations. Firing of torpedoes, explosions under water and the strategies that the Indian officers apply to counter the enemies are excellent to watch. Director makes us watch the battle with bated breath in spite of the predictability associated with it. Only complaint is its leisurely paced first half that takes time to get going.
Second half of the film is very engrossing with lots of nail biting moments. The finale could have been better though. It is too predictable and cinematic. Barring few hitches, Ghazi is a film that cannot be missed. Films like these are not only rare but also make us proud as they are right up there with the standard of world cinema.
Verdict: Gazillion times ahead.