Sunday, December 5, 2021
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Sunday, December 5, 2021
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Ajay Devgn Starrer Bhuj: The Pride Of India Wins Hearts After It’s Digital Release

Against a battalion, 300 men. The tale of how the airstrip in Bhuj, Gujarat, was rebuilt in just 72 hours after being bombed down by Pakistani jets in December 1971 is one of those wartime stories that warms your heart with pride. In Disney+Hotstar’s Bhuj: The Pride Of India, Ajay Devgn as Indian Air Force Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik gives you that actual narrative set against the backdrop of the Indo-Pak War of 1971. It’s fascinating, but it’s not without exaggeration.

The film Bhuj: The Pride Of India begins with the battle that destroyed the airstrip. Soldiers at the Bhuj airbase were caught off guard and defenceless as Pakistani jets dropped bomb after bomb. The damage on the ground as well as in their eyes was enough to make your heart sink. What would Karnik do to get the situation back on track? And if he fails, the enemy might seize one of India’s most strategic airbases. There is no other option at this juncture; Pakistan and India are at war in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh. And Bhuj is crucial for both countries, as an invasion in the west would only serve to weaken India’s attention on its eastern borders.

Ajay Devgn feels at ease in his role as IAF Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik. His calculating, trustworthy Indian soldier who will save the day is swiftly established by his quiet but resolute looks. It certainly helped that bits and pieces of news items from the period are still circulating in the public consciousness. But Karnik isn’t the only hero in the storyline, and this is where filmmaker Abhishek Dudhaiya’s vision of Bhuj, the film, and Bhuj, the historical events, differ. Sharad Kelkar’s RK Nair, Sanjay Dutt’s Ranchhod Pagi, Ammy Virk’s Flight Lieutenant Vikram Singh, and the women of Madhapar, a village near Bhuj, led by Sonakshi Sinha’s Sunderben Jetha, all desire a piece of the pie.

The emphasis and camera remain firmly on Ajay even while Bhuj carefully chronicles their predicament, showing them fighting, bleeding, and dying. Though Sharad and Sanjay are given some dramatic lines, the film clearly creates a hierarchy – Ajay Devgn stars in Bhuj: The Pride of India.

The women in the movie had it even worse. Nora Fatehi’s portrayal of Heena Rehman, an Indian spy in Pakistan, received more screen time in the trailer than she did in the film. Sonakshi, on the other hand, is reduced to both physical and figurative drum-beating, despite some enticing dialogue. It’s difficult to comment on the performances because both Nora and Sonakshi had such limited roles.

Throughout the narrative, a significant amount of time is spent jamming tunes that chant valourous praises. The women, led by Sonakshi, erupt into a jubilant drumroll just after the airbase has been restored, which was probably needless.

Even with the needless drumming and conversations, Bhuj runs nicely at 150 minutes, which may seem a little long for OTT viewing. Although the cutting in the scene transition element could have been better, the picturisation is flawless, and the post-effects guarantee that the battle scenes are seen and felt.

What are your final thoughts? Even with Ajay Devgn walking in slow motion and looking elegant in his IAF uniform, the film belongs to Sharad Kelkar in our opinion. That’s a shame, because this is his second Disney+Hotstar film in which, despite being the obvious hero, he is overshadowed by the greater star.

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