After being highly repetitive with his themes, Major Ravi tried something different in Picket 43 by looking at soldiers of both India and Pakistan as human beings who doesn’t really wish to be part of a war. In a way 1971 Beyond Borders is an extension of that thought. But unfortunately this thought is muddled by the usual war formula we have seen in almost all the major Ravi films and thus the end product feels pretty hollow.
The main focus this time is on the famous 1971 war which ended up in the formation of Bangladesh. Major Mahadevan’s father Sahadevan was a commanding officer in the war field. He was known for the courage and compassion. Like Sahadevan there was another officer in Pakistan army as well, one Mr. Rana who had similar qualities of courage and respect for other soldiers. The movie basically shows us one military operation during this war where these two had a face off. What happens there and what transcends between them beyond borders is the soul of 1971 Beyond Borders.
If you are someone so keen on movies having a message, 1971 Beyond Borders have messages written all over it. The ultimate one is that wars shouldn’t be there. The format here is very simple. You can very easily predict who all are going to die in the war field and what will be that sentimental dialogue which will echo when they die. There is nothing tactically amusing about the war field that gets depicted here and there are a lot of “Sahadevan” worshipping scenes which looks too tacky. From the initial Georgia sequence to the 1971 story, there is this blatant India worshipping through dialogues which looks highly dramatic. If there was a natural feel in Pakistanis having respect for us, things would have looked a bit more real. Seeing our army getting respect is indeed a good feeling, but pushing it to a level where a stabbed Pakistani soldier’s last words are “Maan Gaye” (meaning he agrees that you are great) is a bit awkward.
1971 Beyond Borders hasn’t really explored the actor in Mohanlal in an attractive way. He has two tones in the film, one where he is the friendly guy in his hometown and the other where he is a strict officer in the border. In both versions he is playing this character that is being frequently hailed by everyone. Arunoday Singh who has mostly got forgettable roles in Bollywood looked more real and sensible in this film. Well Allu Sirish is the market widener for this film. The writing of that character isn’t that smooth and for your information Sahadevan says “Thank You Buddy” to him in one scene. Asha Sharath, Sudheer Karamana, Renji Panicker, Devan, Saiju Kurup, Manikkuttan and several others are there in the elaborate cast with minimal roles.
Major Ravi’s films always had this feel of a patriotic speech. In Keerthichakra it sounded fresh, but over the years after being repetitive, that formula lost its charm. From the miseries of soldiers in their personal life to their emotions as soldiers, Major Ravi navigates us through the usual formula and this time it had no impact. What he had achieved is shedding light on the “say no to wars” campaign. The writing lacks excitement and it invests too much time on the chaos rather than trying to convey a thought. Cinematography of Sujith Vaassudev has helped the movie a lot in having a visual appeal. The background score was fine. The songs were good.
1971 Beyond Borders has too much of dramatic feel to its content. There is nothing specific to appreciate about this film. At a time when a girl who said “war killed my father, not Pakistan” got rape threats, a movie like this which backs that girl’s logic is appreciable politically, but cinematically this one is very weak.
At a time when a girl who said “war killed my father, not Pakistan” got rape threats, a movie like this which backs that girl’s logic is appreciable politically, but cinematically this one is weak.