Direction: Sankalp Reddy
Cast: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Om Puri, Nasser, Atul Kulkarni, Taapsee Pannu
Ghazi is a rare kind of movie in Indian context. It is a war movie based on a mysterious incident that happened before the war of 1971.
Ghazi tries to decode the mystery of the sinking of Pakistani submarine in the waters of Bay of Bengal before the war between the two countries broke out.
The record says that PNS Ghazi sunk under mysterious circumstances. There are many versions on what happened. Debutant director Sankalp Reddy’s Ghazi tells you a story based on various versions and some imagination.
The Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam gets information about a possible Pakistani attack on the east coast of India. It sends Indian submarine S 21 to find what is brewing in the sea. Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon), a bold and intelligent officer, is the captain in charge of the submarine. He cares a damn for rules and acts on his instincts. He is a warrior who wants to take on the enemy without wasting time on rules and regulations. The Eastern Naval Command sends Lieutenant-Commander Arjun Varma ( Daggubati) along with Singh. Arjun’s duty is to keep the captain under check. What they want to carry is a secret operation. They don’t want to cause the war. S 21 also has Executive Officer Devaraj (Atul Kulkarni) who is the bridge between the two officers with differing styles.
Expectedly, the captain, finding a Pakistani submarine (Ghazi), wants to destroy it. Given the situation, the operation is risky. Worse, it might trigger a war between the two countries. Arjun opposes the move but enemy’s strike leaves them with little choice.
Indian submarine gets into deep trouble as it is hit by a sea mine. It can only move up or down and not forward or backward. The commander of Ghazi is very clear about what he wants. He launches brutal attack on S 21 by shooting several torpedoes. Pakistani submarine is in a strategically better position to strike Indian submarine. This has put S 21 in deep crisis. What happens next is to be seen on screen.
Director Sankalp Reddy has made a marvellous movie based on the war. He has done the home work well. The depictions of the submarine’s looks, it’s functioning, the way the war strategies are made and executed, and the way the navy officers act have been amazingly done. The director has made everything credible on screen. The characterisations are wonderful. The differences between the high level officers have been presented quite well. The crisis emerges so naturally and the audiences easily get into the mood of the film. The technical aspects and the presentation of the story are so perfect that the audiences feel like they are witnessing a submarine in action on real time. He has made the whole movie very interesting without restoring to cheap sensations and artificial twists. Sankalp’s home work is so perfect that every minute detail has been taken care.
The first half gives us the complete backdrop and sets the mood for a show down. The second half is like a chess game where the two commanders trying to outsmart each other.
There are a few glitches too. The inclusion of Tapsee Pannu’s character seems to be unwarranted. The hero getting more focus in the climax is uncalled for in such a realistic movie.
Despite these shortcomings, Ghazi has come out as a brilliant war movie.
Though the movie predominantly belongs to the director, the performances by the lead actors are marvels. Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, and Atul Kulkarni have played their parts perfectly. Kay Kay is particularly impressive. Rana has consciously under played while Atul has given a mature performance. Rahul Singh, who plays the Pakistani Commander Razzaq does a commendable job.
Om Puri and Nasser have given memorable performances in small roles.
Mathi’s camera work is outstanding. He adds to the credibility of the movie. His picturisation adds to the thrill. The work by special effects team makes the movie more credible. K’s music goes well with the mood of each scenes.
Characterisations and performances
Cinematography and music
Slightly dragging in the second half
The inclusion of Tapsee’s character
Ghazi is one of the rare movies we see in Indian cinema. It has credibility and thrill. It engages the audiences without restoring to any cheap tactics. Must watch.
Ghazi: Gripping tale of two submarines.
Rating: 4 stars