Friday, March 10, 2006

I regret

I regret for not having watched Mani Shankar's Tango Charlie. After the debacle of his second film 'Rudraksh', I decided not to watch Tango Charlie. But only today I read the review of it and I feel sorry for being so biased and for ignoring the film. I would definitely watch it in the coming future for what it is but not how it is, as it is a proven fact that the film is bad.

What impresses me is the idea of the film. It is the story of a soldier told through four different tales of four different wars he fought. Again, the novelty of the idea is in chosing the wars. These wars are not the much screened Indo-Pak wars but the day to day internal wars fought with in ourselves, the war with the Naxals, the war with Bodo etc....
Read the review for more info.

Tango Charlie Review:
The film is based on the director’s thought process which says that Western Europe and the US haven’t fought a war on its soil for the last 60 years because they have always exported their wars to other poorer nations and made them fight. The director also feels that some part of the world is always at war, keeping their armaments industry bulging with profits. And whenever an Indian or Pakistani or Iraqi or Palestinian or Afghan soldier dies, someone in Europe or the US makes a buck. That’s the rip-off economics of war. The result is a film called Tango Charlie, which has a different take than any other war film. Hence Mani Shankar calls his film an anti-war film.

The film is not about war between two nations, but about the small skirmishes that take place in a country like in any civil war. But here, the emphasis is on this young man Tarun Chauhan alias Tango Charlie (Bobby Deol). Deol has been found on the border – injured. Vikram Rathore (Sanjay Dutt) and Shezaad Khan (Sunil Shetty) locate him in the mountains and then they read his diary which tells them four fascinating tales that Tarun Chauhan has been a part of many wars from the Bodo insurgency in the north east of India which has many victims, to the Kargil conflict which is the most picturised war scene in Bollywood in the past few years and films.

The sory in the first war is about BSF Battalion 101 where he is working with Hawaldar Mohammed Ali (Ajay Devgan), who is the guru of Tarun Chauhan. A Chinese insurgent soldier (Kelly Dorjee) is instigating local Bodos in their war and sponsors their war against the government. Tarun is taught how to fight with such an enemy by Hawalar Mohammed Ali. The sex based jokes shared by the armymen among other things add a lot of fun to this story here.

Chauhan turns out to be a soldier who does not believe in fighting. Unlike in Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon where he wants a life of comfort, Bobby Deol believes in peace. He does not like to kill anyone at all. However he does not mind lifting up the gun to protect his fellow countrymen unlike the soldier Dev Anand played in Prem Pujari of the pacifist soldier who is was court-martialed for not firing at the enemy.

The Deccan plateau in Maharashtra and Karnataka has been witnessing few stories of naxalite attacks. How civilians are made a scapegoat in this fight is the narrative of the second tale.

The fights on the homefront with local hoodlums that was shown in the war film Prahaar also takes place in this film as well – Ajay Devgan replacing Anan Patekar in a similar tale with Devgan in Bengal.

The fourth story is about the Kargil conflict and that’s where the story is set in the climax. By the way, Mohamed Ali has a love interest and so does Tarun. But they don’t really matter to the story.

The film terraces the walk of the foot soldier. It is not the story of the top armymen. Bollywood stars have mostly played senior officers in the defence forces. Tango Charlie changes that. The film emphasizes on the thought that war is brutal and terrifying. It reduces us to our most inhuman and cruel selves. The shuttling between different stories tells us that India is burning all around its borders. Each day several Indian soldiers die in a war of attrition in many theatres of conflicts.
The director has tried to say that hush descends in every street of Srinagar and the fear is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

If these thoughts are true, they should have been part of a documentary film and not a feature film. The film unwittingly is camouflaged like the hero in the attire of a war film.

There are two love stories and two music directors in the film in the form of Anu Malik and Anand Raaj Anand. Both of them could have been shot down like enemies before the war or rather the film had not started. These commercial elements thus impacted the growth of the film into what could have been a powerful docudrama at least. The film thus does not remain true to its thought that songs are not a part of a war film.

Ajay Devgan excels in his performance and so does Bobby. The women are wasted. Kelly Dorjee makes a decent debut. I am waiting to see him work with girlfriend Lara Dutta soon. It is these performances and the thought behind the film that sets it apart.

Tango Charlie needed a better name to have some commercial chances. Many have not even understood the name of the film.

Reviewed by: Tony

Question:What's Mani Shankar up to these days?
Answer: was last seen making a short film on YS Rajasekhar Reddy on the eve of Bush's visit to Hyderabad.

No comments: