The intention of the makers of the movie Bhuj: The Pride of India might be to show us how we fought back with unity to revamp a demolished airbase during the 1971 war. But the writing and making of this movie are so bad that it almost becomes a mockery of a historical event. With Ajay Devgn walking in slow motion, Sonakshi Sinha singing while constructing the runway, and Sanjay Dutt killing Pakistani soldiers as if he was slicing meat for Shawarma, Bhuj: The Pride of India is easily one of the worst war movies.
The movie is set in the backdrop of the 1971 war. As Indian forces were heavily deployed in East Pakistan, our Western front was on the weaker side, and Pakistan decided to use this opportunity to capture our lands, mainly the Bhuj Airbase. The unprecedented attack of the Pakistan army destroys the base and its runway, and it became difficult for the Bhuj airbase to get any support. So Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik did the unthinkable of rebuilding the runway with the help of the locals in a quick span of time. How he achieved that, along with the help of the locals and other military officials, is what we see in Bhuj: The Pride of India.
The writing credit of this movie is shared by five people, including Mr. Ritesh Shah. But from the very first scene of the film, one could sense the level of clichés and glorifications we are going to watch. The way they have pictured Pakistan and its officials are unintentionally funny. Rather than making our force look resilient and intelligent, they have tried to make the Pakistani officers sound like a bunch of fools. They list out the names of their spies so that people can hear them clearly. They believe any intel they get without double-checking the source. And there is this Islamophobic narrative in the movie where Mughals are considered as the ancestors of Pakistanis. I am not trying to justify the actions of Pakistan in that war. But we do have movies like Raazi where patriotism is presented in a way the story feels real.
The making of the movie is utterly old-school, and there are times where you would find it difficult to believe that director Abhishek Dudhaiya actually thought this level of cheesy and dramatic scripting would work on the big screen. The attack on Bhuj airbase is compared to the Pearl Harbor attack historically, and what we see in this film is a mediocre visual effects set-piece that fails to depict the scale of the event. You cant even sympathize with the movie thinking the budget might have ruined the quality of the visual effects. It is over the top in every possible way. Every character is introduced with a scene that is supposed to be heroic, but you will find it either bizarre or funny. Ajay Devgn is seen driving an open jeep during the attack to cover a distance that he could have covered way too quickly by foot. Sonakshi Sinha kills a tiger in her introduction scene. Sharad Kelkar’s introduction gave me an idea of how ignorant the makers are about Malayalees. The editing of the movie is an absolute mess.
In his effort to snatch the patriotic star tag from Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn performs the role of Vijay Karnik as a calmer version of Bajirao Singham. Sanjay Dutt is also in his typical style, and one can clearly see his lack of flexibility in those battle sequences. With his dead set of expressions and sleepy dialogue delivery, Ammy Virk offers nothing to the film. It seems like Sonakshi Sinha’s idea of portraying a strong woman is speaking loudly on screen. The only guy who felt like he believed in the role offered to him was Sharad Kelkar. Even though he looked or behaved nothing like a Malayali, as this soldier on the field, he was the most believable one. Nora Fatehi fights instead of dance, and that’s the only fresh element in this movie.
From the first scene to the end, Bhuj: The Pride of India is a great example of how almost everything goes terribly wrong for a film. Uninspiring acting, insipid writing, mediocre visual effects, along with some bumper sticker dialogues, make it a movie that somewhere insults the real-life heroes of this historic event. The level of cinematic liberty taken by the makers of Bhuj: The Pride of India is unbearable for the eyes and ears.
The level of cinematic liberty taken by the makers of Bhuj: The Pride of India is unbearable for the eyes and ears.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended