THE GHAZI ATTACK STORY: India’s first underwater war film tries to decode the mystery behind the sinking of Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
THE GHAZI ATTACK REVIEW: An elaborate disclaimer at the beginning of The Ghazi Attack clarifies that though it is inspired by historic events, it is ‘purely a work of fiction’. While various versions of this underwater incident have surfaced, this film is based on the claim that India’s INS-Rajput (changed to submarine S-21 in the film) attacked Ghazi, resulting in its subsequent sinking near India’s eastern coast.
Led by the rebellious Capt Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon), his second-in-command Devaraj (Atul Kulkarni) and righteous officer Arjun (Rana Daggubati), S-21 is assigned a classified search mission after sources tip-off the Indian Navy of a Pakistani vessel infiltrating the Indian waters.
Ghazi intends to target INS Vikrant (India’s aircraft carrier) in order to reach East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by sea. What transpires between these two submarines once they get a whiff of each other forms the story. Given the scale of his ambitious project and limited resources at hand, debutant director Sankalp Reddy deserves a pat on the back for making an engaging film.
You wish the execution was more nuanced and performances a tad understated but Sankalp makes you invest in his characters nonetheless. Kay Kay surprisingly indulges in a ‘who hams more’ battle with his caricaturish Pakistani counterpart (played by Rahul Singh, Ji Janab!).
In a bizarre scene, he whispers to his officers about the Pakistanis as if they might overhear. Rana Daggubati delivers a mature performance and Atul Kulkarni is sincere but supporting actors look nothing like Navy men. While the visuals and special effects lack finesse, the film compensates for it with its riveting story. The second half keeps you on the edge of your seat as the submarines go head-to-head, firing torpedoes while dodging and defending themselves. Despite the hitches, this underwater thriller is worth a watch. It leaves you in awe of the soldiers, who lay their lives for their country.