1971: Beyond Borders REVIEW: Director Major Ravi’s previous movie Picket 43 showed a different side of the filmmaker, in the sense that he could successfully wrap a story of soldiers on either side of the border while giving the audience an emotional layer to harp on.
He has tried the same for 1971: Beyond Border, which is set against the backdrop of 1971 Indo-Pak war. The movie has Mohanlal in two roles – as Colonel Mahadevan and his dad Major Sahadevan, who is the protagonist.
The movie kicks off by introducing Colonel Mahadevan and his Indian troupe saving a set of Pakistani soldiers during a UN mission. That’s where the backstory of the movie comes into focus as Mahadevan saved the son of the head of a Pakistani force who was killed by his dad Sahadevan. However, there is no animosity between the soldiers – as for them, just like the recurrent theme of the movie suggest, humanity supersedes war and they are aware that war, no matter how needless it is, will take casualties.
The film focuses on three decorated officers – Major Mahadevan, Lieutenant Chinmay (Allu Sirish) and Lieutenant Raja (Arunoday Singh) from the Pakistani Army. The director dedicates the first half to showing the lives of the soldiers outside the war front – when they are with their families. Also, even when they are on the battlefront, how their thoughts are always with their loved ones.
The cinematographer Sujith Vaassudev deserves a special mention as it’s his frames that bring the war alive on in a Malayalam film like never before. The 20 minute war scene in the second half is a landmark in Malayalam cinema, and Sujith brings his A-game. The music department especially the Hindi songs by Najeem Arshad used during the climax battle ups the entire scene and lends it the emotional layer the movie required.
Allu Sirish doesn’t have much to do, but his armoured tank scene is one of the highlights. Sujith splendidly captures the powerhouse of the tanks in all its pomp and glory.
The film though sometimes fails to be engaging as the story shuttles between soldiers of both sides – their problems in the family as well as their worries on the battlefield, and that takes the punch away from the script. However, by the end of the film it’s clear that’s exactly what the director wanted to focus on instead of playing to the gallery. The film puts across the message that fighting wars for “borders and orders” robs away so many lives needlessly.