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Bhuj The Pride of India: Is it Worth a Watch?

Abhishek Dudhaiya’s ‘war film’, Bhuj: The Pride of India unravels the crises during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Starring Ajay Devgan the film brings back the memories of the disaster and the bravery of the civilians and the Indian Army. But is the story of guts and glory worth a watch? Let’s find out!

The movie begins by describing how the 1947 partition led to the formation of Pakistan. The visuals show some stills and clips from West Pakistan & East Pakistan, and the audio explains the short period which eventually turned East Pakistan into Bangladesh. The first half of the film depicts the attack on Bhuj’s airbase and is taken forward by IAF squadron leader Vijay Karnik (Ajay Devgn) and his team. The part unveils the reasons why the attack was made in the first place. There are a lot of disorganized events that build-up to the attack on Bhuj Airbase. You see many characters (cameos) coming up and giving brave speeches without any previous context. Also, the ‘who’s’ of the Indian war movies have completely transformed themselves over the years, the heroes are not shown the way they were previously and that is just the case here.

Director Abhishek Dudhaiya chooses Ajay Devgn to portray the bravery of IAF squadron leader Vijay Karnik. You also see IAF squadron leader Vijay pacing in slo-mo with bombs dropping around him and even giving stirring speeches to urge the bravery of women of Bhuj. Coming to the other characters of the movie, you might find it simply a confusing mess. Clocking at around 110 minutes, the film narration is towards a faster pace. The characters in the movie are revealed in flashes which creates a chaotic situation from the beginning. But, the movie is seen redeeming itself in the second half where there is some more drama and action.

The makers of the movie, clarify in the beginning that the film is just inspired by the true incident and is a work of fiction (which you can obviously see in the movie). Bhuj has all the powerhouse actors as the cast, apart from Ajay Devgn, there is Sanjay Dutt, Sharad Kelkar, Sonakshi Sinha, and Nora Fatehi to name a few. But the actors are not seen performing their best (Thanks to the storyline). Sharad Kelkar’s character in the movie as Military officer RK Nair was heart-winning but it surely could have been a lot better, if the storyline was better. Another hero of the movie was Ranchordas Pagi (Sanjay Dutt) who plays a smart, canny local in huge pagris who is seen moving across the desert, getting important information, and fooling the Pakistani officials.

Though, the movie isn’t just a confusing mess in some scenes you might also want to applaud. In one scene Vijay Karnik is seen talking to a Pakistani caller asking ‘Kaun Bol Raha Hai?’ and he replies with ‘Tera Baap’. That is surely one of those moments.

However, the real stars of the movie (the 300 Bhuj women) were nowhere to be seen in the movie for a very long period. These women who repaired the airstrip in a night, for our brave IAF soldiers so that they could land their planes to chase the Pakistanis off our land should have been given at least some special part. Led by Sunderban Jetha Madharpaya (Sonakshi Sinha) who just appears in the movie supporting a week sub-plot during the final 30 minutes of the film. She is just as good at giving speeches as she seems to be at singing patriotic songs. The women are seen carrying huge ‘dhols’ and ‘nagadas’, which they are seen playing in the middle of the war (like what?). Nora Fatehi on the other hand gets to play a Muslim woman, the wife of a Pakistani. Her character is a Spy and she gets a respectable speaking part where she has to shoot, scream, kick, and more. One of her heart-winning dialogues from the movie has to be…

“Ya khuda teri adalat mein meri ek zamanat rakhna, main rahu ya na rahu mere hindustan ko salamat rakhna”

Coming to the editing of Bhuj the Pride of India you might notice that it is all over the place. As a viewing experience, the movie looks to be very disorganized and seems as if just some remaining shot scenes are joined together to complete the duration of the film. There are some scenes in the movie which are just present with no previous connectivity and the film, unfortunately, fails to connect with emotions. Everything in the movie seems to be moving at a really fast pace and it is very obvious to the viewers as well.

Overall the movie is good for a one-time watch, especially as it is released around Independence day. However, it is good for the audience who can ignore the religious advocacy and are just focused upon the story.

Rating: 2/5
Genre: War-Drama

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