Vivek Oberoi, Rohit Roy, Shivani Rai, Lokesh Mittal
What’s It About
Major Sunil Bhatia (played by actor Vivek Oberoi) and his squad are attacked by Pakistani forces, and the army officer is brought to a secret location where Captain Nawaz (Rohit Roy) interrogates him. As the grilling progresses, things begin to unfurl in unexpected ways. From blaming one other's armies for entering each other's territories, the two gradually create a unique relationship after discovering their shared love of poetry and shayari. Will they end up becoming friends forgetting the animosity between the countries? Or will the patriotism towards their respective countries get the better of them and trash these creative thoughts in the bin? Well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out.
Rohit Roy comes up with a great performance. He is able to showcase perfectly the frustration going on in the minds of an honourable man who knows that probably he is not doing the right thing, but is bound by his duty and patriotism towards his country. Roy goes from being the angry army officer to becoming the subtle poet to an honourable person – all the while showing a diverse range of emotions.
The background score by Mayuresh Adhikari is haunting. It brings in that eerie feeling of being locked up inside a jail. Simultaneously, it also adds to bringing in the patriotic emotions perfectly in the minds of the audience.
The editing by Sachin Rasatkar was crisp. The length of the short film was kept around 32 minutes which justified the story.
The poetic verses and shayaris are commendable and definitely demand applause.
Vivek Oberoi is rather monotone and has just one expression throughout – a smirk. He is trying to show his bravery and perpetual valour throughout, but somehow he ends up looking a lot caricaturish, who is trying to do it just for some cheap thrills. There should have been more depth to the character’s portrayal.
Kapil Mishra’s writing is the biggest drawback of the movie. While the intentions are noble or show two army officers stuck in a situation that neither of them is responsible for, but have to do because of their duty towards their country. However, the film ends up being a bit jingoistic while explaining the military prowess of India, whereas it just manages to bring to light that Pakistan always uses India as an excuse for everything that’s happening in their country. While on one hand, the writing tries to show that the two soldiers are equal in everything, the writing should have also shown that everything else also about the two countries is pretty much the same. That way, it wouldn’t look like an India-biased narrative.
The cinematography by Bhushan Kumar Jain isn’t up to the mark as the shots don’t seem much like that of a jail cell, and rather look and feel like a 2-star hotel. The VFX was also barely needed in the film, as pretty much entirely it should have been either shot on real locations or in studios. Adding to that, the VFX wasn’t that great either in the minimal screen time that it’s even used for.
Director Prasad Kadam makes the narrative a bit too theatrical, especially around the middle parts. The utter lack of subtlety in pointing out obvious things makes this a very in-your-face sort of narrative. It could have been totally avoided by making the characters more relatable and closer to reality. Probably a bit more depth to both the central characters wouldn’t have had done harm to the basic story.
It’s brilliant that the makers decided to stick to a short film format, which essentially is a good thing as it's quick, and before you know it, you’re in the story. However, had the story had a bit more layers and the characters a bit more depth to them, this surely would have been one of the best short films on patriotism. Sadly, it isn’t! It’s a pale reminder that sometimes even when the one-liner plot is too exciting to miss out if the writing and execution are not too great, then the project can tank badly. However, this one is indeed a One-Time Watch. I am going with 2 stars.