A soldier’s Haiku love poem, recited without inspiration

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STORY: Two soldiers from neighboring countries cross paths in a conflict zone and only one of them will come out of this encounter alive. “Verses of War” is an ode to Indian soldiers and soldiers around the world, and their dreams and hopes that they almost never realize.

REVIEW: Major Sunil Bhatia (Vivek Anand Oberoi) of the Indian National Army is a brave heart who infiltrates the hideout of a Pakistani army, only to be captured by them later. In the interrogation room, the POW comes into contact with a hard-faced, tender-hearted Major Nawaz Jehangir (Ronit Roy). Interestingly, instead of beating daylight on his opponent’s side counterpart, he takes an intense liking to Major Bhatia’s love interest Haikus. What happens next forms the premise of this special 33-minute Republic Day short.

Every year we see a plethora of movies and web shows released on India’s Republic Day which rightly pays tribute to the sacrifices Indian soldiers make to ensure the security of the country’s borders and its inhabitants. The 73rd Republic Day is no exception to this rule.

Directed by Prasad Kadam, this short-form war drama opens amid flying bullets deep in the dusty areas of what we will later be told is rural Pakistan. The Indian soldiers, led by Major Bhatia of Oberoi, have a mission: to take down the Pakistani camp on the top of a hill. Why is this scene so crucial? Because it promises a solid patriotic film but, of course, it goes downhill from there. And, pretty much remains in that state of tastelessness throughout its execution.

Oberoi, with his deep voice, justifies the shero shayari in the film. However, the real problem with his character’s portrayal begins when he tries to add gravitas to his heavy dialogue: melodramatic, dated lines spoil it for the actor. Roy, on the other hand, dials in the drama with his well-rounded act. But, gets distracted by the love story (you’ll see).

Overall, in conclusion, director Kadam had the right intentions – unexpressed love, unfulfilled desires, humanity in the face of adversity; we get it, but with shoddy camerawork, no real pre-shoot scouting, and a bouncy script, “Verses of War” didn’t stand a chance.

This war drama is one of those films that starts out thunderous but ends up reaching a rocky climax. Tragic.


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