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Cast: Mohanlal, Allu Sirish, Arunoday Singh
Director: Major Ravi
Mohanlal’s new release 1971 Beyond Borders is a fictionalised account of a crucial battle fought during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. The war story is narrated by Retired Brigadier Sahadevan, father of Colonel Mahadevan, to his grandchildren as a tea time story. Like all stories meant for kids, this film also has a lot of moral lessons, repeated over and over so that it sticks with the audience and uses action to keep the viewers from getting bored. In other words, Major Ravi has failed to treat the audience as adults with his war story and narration techniques. The story feels like it is being told to a six-year-old who doesn’t really bother about the complex war politics and human emotions as long as she gets to see some action.
I’m no war expert. But, the most important fundamentals of war is planning, which the film clearly lacks. Major Ravi has got the basics of war wrong. The film lacks proper planning and execution of war sequences, which is marketed as the highlight of this film.
Sahadevan (Mohanlal), commands a unit tasked with securing Basantar, which is invaded by the Pakistan army. Lieutenant Chinmay (Allu Sirish) and team provide the tank support for Sahadevan in the battle. On the other side, the Pakistan army is led by Lieutenant Colonel Rana Sharif (Arunoday Singh), who is in a hurry to finish the war and go back to his pregnant wife.
Instead of recreating the scope and chaos of the 1971 war, the director repeatedly indulges in invoking patriotism with Sahadevan’s gabs and melodramatic scenes. Sahadevan has a punchline in the film, which is borrowed from General George S Patton’s famous speech: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” Sahadevan, however, puts it in a more nicer way.
The audience may feel lost in the din created by the loud noises of tanks, guns and Sahadevan. Battle sequences, especially involving tanks, are ill-conceived. Mohanlal looked more trained and prepared while fighting tigers created by computer graphics in Pulimurugan. In this film, he leads his team straight into enemy fire and goes so close to his machine-gun wielding rival soldiers that he kicks them in their faces. The film screenplay has too many holes. It looks like a potential story marred by the director’s unrelenting quest to satisfy the Mohanlal fan base. Major Ravi plays a sidekick to Sahadevan, who attains martyrdom in the film.
commander, Allu Sirish’s role is based on Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, whose war exploits in Basantar battle alone can provide enough material for a whole new film. But, his character suffers from poor writing.
1971 Beyond Borders neither lives up to its expectations nor do justice to its genre. A half-baked portrayal of emotions and devastating consequences of a war.