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Movie Review- BHUJ: The Pride Of India

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A swaggering hero, jingoistic jingles and slogan-shouting, BHUJ: The Pride Of India has all the elements that a war film should have, but too much of it overshadows the real heroes of the story – 300 women who pulled off the incredible feat. Directed and co-written by Abhishek Dudhaiya, BHUJ: The Pride Of India revolved around an episode of the 1971 India-Pakistan war when civilians rebuilt a bombed-out runaway in a single night so that the brave Indian Air Force boys could land their planes and chase off Pakistani forces from the Indian soil.

Reportedly, Pakistani bombs destroyed an Indian Air Force (IAF) base in BHUJ, Gujarat. At that time, Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik (played by Ajay Devgn) of the Indian Air Force was stationed in BHUJ, and he was asked to rebuild the airstrip so that Indian military planes can return to the base and defend India against another attack during the war. The task was impossible since there was no labour available from the Defence Department for the job. Given the helpless situation, Karnik approached villagers nearby for help. According to the media reports, 300 civilians, mostly women, volunteered and constructed the entire runaway in just 72 hours.

There’s no doubt that such a heroic story needs to be told, and what’s better than conveying it through a war drama film? Well, to be honest, BHUJ: The Pride Of India is awfully dull, and it seems like the energy that should have been put to depict those 300 women was directed towards establishing the slow-motions shots of Ajay Devgn and slogan shouting. Well, the multi starrer film delivers thundering lines about patriotism filled with clichés.

Well, patriotism is a rather tricky subject to play with since it involves establishing the mood without too many dialogues; remember the adrenaline rush that URI: The Surgical Strike created with just a minimal dialogue: “How’s The Josh? High Sir!”

Those 300- Women-led by Sonakshi Sinha as ‘Gujarat Ki Sherni’ did not look enough cut out for the part. Instead, their costumes looked like they are going to a village carnival. Neither the actions of Sanjay Dutt as Indian Army Scout Ranchordas Pagi or the subsequent actions of women do much for the film.

The only memorable scene is when poor Yahya Khan, the powerful general in Islamabad who was ready to lecture the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and show India its place, had to lick his own wounds (that happened in IRL, Btw!)

Well, the movie doesn’t disappoint too much in setting the tone and portraying what actually happened that night, but they could have done a little better (honestly, much, much better) on the VFX part!

BHUJ: The Pride Of India is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

Check out the trailer here:

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