Ghazi - Movie Review
Cast: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulakarni, Ravi Varma, Satyadev, Tapsee, Om Puri, Nasser, and others
Dialogues: Gunnam Gangaraju
Screenplay: Gunnam Gangaraju, Niranjan Reddy
Editing: A Sreekara Prasad
Producers for Matinee: Anvesh Reddy, Niranjan Reddy, Jaganmohan Reddy
Producers for PVP Cinema: Pearl V Potluri, Param Potluri, Kavin Anne
Story, Screenplay and Direction: Sankalp
Release date:February 17, 2017
CBFC Rating: U
What's it about
Intelligence officers decode a cryptic message that hints about Pakistan hatching a surprise attack on India from the sea. The Indian Navy starts off an operation, which is a classified mission, using submarine S21. Lieutenant Commander Arjun (Rana), who goes by the rulebook, Captain Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon), who has anger management issues and follows the heart than the rules, and officer Dev Raj (Atul Kulkarni) lead the mission. The Pakistan Submarine Ghazi, headed by shrewd commander and Indian submarine come close in the sea near Vishakapatnam. The Pak team first cleverly attacks on Indian submarine and almost brings it down. But the Indian Navy team survives and later how they wage a war on Pak submarine in brilliant and daring manner forms the story.
'Ghazi' is based on the true incidents that occurred in 1971. PNS Ghazi, a submarine belonging to Pakistan's army, collapsed mysteriously in Visakhapatnam ocean waters as some brave Indian Navy soldiers attack on it. This film tells the story behind this heroic fight by Indian Navy by adding fiction to the real incident.
On Indian screen, no director has touched the genre of submarine films so far although in world cinema and in Hollywood many films were made in this genre including the hugely popular 'Crimson Tide' (1995). The story of 'Ghazi' has all the essential ingredients to rouse patriotic feel in audiences. The young and debutant director Sankalp has come up with the story that is little known to the general public and the genre has never been explored on Telugu screen. Not only that the genre is new to Telugu audiences, the narrative is definitely novel to us as the entire movie focuses on the subject, never drifting into a song or comedy scene or following the romantic thread. From start to finish, the story is told in classic Hollywood style of narration, sticking to the main plot.
The film starts off with Megastar Chiranjeevi's voiceover where in he explains how many times India and Pakistan have fought, how this secret mission of Indian Navy happened in 1971. The new director and his screenplay writers team - Gunnam Gangaraju and Niranjan Reddy (he is also one of the producers), have written taut screenplay in the second half. The first half of the story is focussed more on conflicts of ideology between to soldiers (Rana and Kay Kay Menon), the second half is riveting with the nail-biting moments of the Indian team attacking the Ghazi submarine in hostile conditions.
Except the beginning of the movie, entire movie's story and drama happens inside submarine. So, the writers have little scope to add extra elements to develop a gripping drama. Although they have succeeded in overcoming constraints of war drama in the second half, the arc of story has followed the same old style of underdog stories.
Anyone can easily guess Indian Navy would win over the Pakistan's submarine, so there no surprises on that front yet the screenplay in the second half is so engaging and nail biting that you actually watch with them with bated breath. The director and writers have incorporated some stunning episodes inside the sea like Indian submarine completely collapsing after bomb attack on it. The Indian submarine lands in a situation where the soldiers have nothing on their advantage - batteries draining out, key members are either killed or injured, food is scarce, etc. In these conditions, how the Indian submarine brings down the Ghazi? This part is told so grippingly. This is where the movie scores in big way.
Although the climax part doesn't give same satisfaction as the earlier parts have given, the end definitely rouses some patriotic feel in us. The climax sequence seems to be shot not properly although entire movie is rich with high-end technical values. The first and prime aspect to be applauded in the movie is its stunning technical values - absolutely brilliant cinematography by Madhie, detailed submarine hydraulic set created by art director, and special effects team (sea waters, etc). The film has superior technical strength and it definitely ranks one of the well made Indian movies as far as war movies are concerned. The production values are of top standards.
Cinematographer Madhie scores over all technicians and cast members as he shot the inside of submarine sequences with deftness that we get the feel of being in it.
Still it also has share of issues. The first half of the movie is not that gripping, even the thread of Tapsee and kid seems out of place in the story. It seems Tapsee's character is introduced just to incorporate a customary female role in the all-male cast. Also the director's in-experience in handling the dramatic moments like Rana giving inspiring speech is clearly visible. There are some loose ends too. These are minor hitches.
Regarding performances, major cast members have come up with decent performances. Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon and Atul Kulkarni, the main trio of the cast lead the story. Rana has perfectly fitted in the role of a young commander. Kay Kay Menon has done his part in exaggerated way. Atul Kulkarni is sincere. Tapsee's role is major issue in the film. Among other cast members, Om Puri and Nasser are good. Satyadev makes an impression.
The film's dialogues are neat. Editing is crisp. Background score is apt. The new director Sankalp's basic story idea itself has major strength. With the great support from the technical crew and production team, he has made dream debut. Applause should be given to Niranjan Reddy and PVP for backing this project.
Bottom-line: 'Ghazi' is one of the best movies made in Telugu cinema that has a story that has never been told. A gripping submarine war drama made with superbly crafted sequences, realistic and detailing submarine set. With terrific cinematography, neat visual effects and superb production values, new director Sankalp has raised the bar of Tollywood.