Pippa, the new Raja Krishna Menon film, had opted for a direct OTT release through Amazon Prime Video. The movie is based on the 1971 war, and we see a significant episode in that war. While the film, especially in its initial parts, manages to create an impact through production design, the scale sort of went down as the story progressed. In totality, it looked like a routine war drama that documents stuff without much emotional heft or depth.
Balram Singh Mehta, aka Balli, is our main character. He belongs to a military family; his brother is a senior officer in the military, and his father died in the 1947 war. Balli was known for his disobedience, but his expertise with the newly added amphibious tank PT 76, called Pippa among soldiers, helped him get into the battlefront despite disciplinary actions being taken against him. In the movie Pippa, we see the involvement of Balli’s 45 Cavalry regiment in the Battle of Garibpur, which had an important role in India’s victory.
The generic writing and the inability to depict scale reduce the film’s glow. There is a scene where we see the chief making mutton biriyani for his boys, and suddenly, the enemies attack and the whole team gets ready, and Raja Krishna Menon shows us the entire action in a single take. You just feel that something cinematically exhilarating is about to unleash. But sadly, what happens after that in the movie just can’t match that moment’s quality and emotional high. When the movie ends, they have added these end cards that sort of explain the importance of some of the moments we saw in the film. But for some reason, it just couldn’t create that emotional impact.
Ishaan Khatter, in his limited filmography, has played roles of young, reckless characters, and this one comes with a uniform. The agility and energy expected from him to pull off this character were there in his performance. Priyanshu Painyuli, as the elder brother Ram Mehta, gets to play the composed and strict elder brother of the hero, and the role was a cakewalk for his caliber. I am not sure whether the family we see in this movie is based on real characters because Mrunal Thakur’s character’s intelligence department link feels a bit forced to make that family look like a group that contributed to the war by all means. Soni Razdan plays the role of the mother, and I must say that Kamal Sadanah was really impressive in his role as Sam Manekshaw.
As I already mentioned, in terms of production quality, Raja Krishna Menon has managed to mount this movie believably in the initial areas. The recreation of that time looks impressive, and the cinematography by his frequent collaborator Priya Seth also helps the movie have a superior visual quality. But as the film progresses towards the key moments, there is a lack of emotional depth to the proceedings. War looked like some sort of a match happening on the ground, and everything was happening in a charmlessly convenient way. Seeing that climax where the brothers reunite, smoke cigarettes, and celebrate the victory, you just don’t feel anything.
Beyond the documentation of some of the events that happened during the 1971 war, Pippa cannot establish anything that would connect with the audience on an emotional level. There is a scene in the movie when Balli sees refugees for the first time and remembers his mother’s lines about his own family’s past. The impact it had was so weak that the makers had to put a voiceover of Balli saying that seeing all those refugees changed his perspective about the 71 War.
Beyond the documentation of some of the events that happened during the 1971 war, Pippa cannot establish anything that would connect with the audience on an emotional level.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended