Major Ravi’s Kurukshetra is about the Kargil war, where the brave Indian soldiers successfully resisted the infiltration of the Pakis. Major Mahadevan, the character played by Mohanlal in the director’s earlier venture Keerthichakra, has now become a Colonel.
Kurukshetra is not its sequel, but it is just that Colonel Mahadevan’s character has been taken from it. The film is an honest attempt, made at some of the original locations where the war actually happened.
The strategic importance of the otherwise barren and dusty Kargil hills has been underlined in Kurukshetra. The story opens showing the tough life that the jawans at the border lead and their actual sentiments. They share cigarettes and liquor with their rival men in uniform, sitting at both sides of the fence, even as they hold their guns intact. The soldiers at the barracks have pride in taking care of their nation amidst their own personal woes, anxieties and dreams.
Kurukshetra mentions why the Pakistan president Gen.Musharaf conspired to initiate the Kargil war. Col.Mahadevan realizes the actual intentions of the enemies and leads the attack from the Indian front. Both the sides suffer casualties but it is truth and determination that prevail in the end.
A film like this, which is based on actual incidents, may not have a thrilling suspense to keep the viewers in the edge of their seats like most of the other potboilers, but the screenplay can bring a vital difference. It is more of an interesting concept than a complete film, as a tight screenplay is sorely missing here.
The main problem with the film is its supporting cast, most of whose narratives fail to get registered in the minds of the viewers. The result is that when they are shown after some time, it is difficult to identify them or figure out their issues.
Actors like Biju Menon and Manikkuttan get wasted in inconsequential scenes and worse still, Biju’s pair on screen played by Tania Singh, has come up with the worst performance by any actor in Malayalam during recent times.
Many of the scenes look clichéd and predictable, like the one where the character played by actor Bineesh Kodiyeri loses his hand and his watch, the romance between a young Kashmiri couple and of course, Siddique’s sermon on the patriotism of the Indian Muslims which nowadays is shown in every film dealing with the similar subject, like a convention.
But it is Mohanlal who takes the film ahead along with the members of his battalion with a subtle performance infusing spontaneity into the character. Lokanathan’s visuals add magnificently to the war sequences which have been shown with conviction. The music by debutant Siddharth Vipin generally disappoints, though good in parts.
It is curious why only some of the original names of the characters in the film have been mentioned as such. The rest of the characters have fictitious names though some similarities are obvious, at times. There is evident confusion regarding the language used in the dialogues, with subtitles being used at certain points. Like, for instance, when Mohanlal is talking to the Pakistani commander in Malayalam before switching over to Hindi! With Major Ravi at the helm of affairs, one would have expected more on the actual events that led to the war, but the story mainly conforms to the already known facts.
Though such a comparison may be unfair, Kurukshetra, perhaps been made with noble intentions, falls well short of Keerthichakra as there is less life in this new version
Banner: Damor Films
Direction: Major Ravi.