Director: Sankalp Reddy
Writer: Sankalp Reddy (novel)
Stars: Tapsee Pannu, Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni
Runtime: 1h 56min
Genre: Drama, History
Released: 17 Feb 2017
Summary: The Ghazi Attack is inspired by true events from the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. The story is about an executive naval officer of the Indian Submarine S21 and his team, who remain underwater for 18 days. The film explores the mysterious circumstances under which the PNS Ghazi sank off the coast of Visakhapatnam in 1971. It is an underwater tale of the courage and patriotism of the men aboard the Indian Submarine S-21 who destroyed the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi when it ventured into Indian waters to destroy the INS Vikrant.
Review: Border stops being the benchmark. The Ghazi Attack is now the best Indian war film, ladies and gents.
Stripped of all the saturated fats that we associate with Indian war films (courtesy JP Dutta) such as sentimental backstories of soldiers, romantic subplots that only serve to bore and unrealistic heroism, The Ghazi Attack, helmed by first-time filmmaker Sankalp Reddy, deserves kudos for its smart, smart filmmaking.
The Ghazi Attack is based on the mysterious sinking of the behemoth of a submarine called PNS Ghazi, pretty much The Nautilus of the Pakistan Army between 1964 and 1971. According to the Pak army, PNS Ghazi sank due to explosions caused by itself or the landmines it laid in the Bay of Bengal. However, the Indian Navy credits the destroyer INS Rajput for sinking PNS Ghazi. As of today, it is a mystery and was thus, a ripe subject for a filmmaker to base a war film on.
More so because 90 per cent of the action occurs within submarines and thus under water. As such, the setting is new to the Indian audience who have rarely seen the insides of a submarine on the big screen. It’s all very contained. Shot in tight angles. Close-ups of actors. Sweating, bleeding, nervous, agitated and trying to keep calm under pressure in a claustrophobic environment where one wrong move can mean either death or a full-scale war between India and Pakistan.
As for the performances, The Ghazi Attack belongs entirely to Kay Kay Menon and Atul Kulkarni. Rana Daggubati is an expressionless blank slate and the one thing he does well is to growl with a scowl, which indeed works once his character gets control of the submarine and becomes its de facto Captain. Taapsee Pannu has a screen-time of a little more than five minutes and basically, hangs around, for diversity. Rahul Singh plays Razzak, the villainous Pakistani captain of Ghazi, and he does a cartoon-ish Prakash Raj, sadly. Are Indian audiences not mature enough to comprehend nuance in our villains? Why do they have to be Mojo Jojo, Pakistanis or not?