Seemayen Bulaayen Tujhe Chal Raahi . . .
How our brave soldiers protect our frontiers and what kind of hardships they face in that job, what's the price they pay in serving the motherland and what's the price paid by their families and beloveds, is something completely known to the involved ones only, i.e., the Indian soldiers and their families left behind when they are on the war-front. But there is one more person in India who can be considered as knowing these facts very well. And that man is filmmaker J.P. Dutta who had lost his brother Deepak in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. Perhaps his brother's sacrifice inspires and energizes him to make war-based movies. In my view, there are only three war-based movies made in Bollywood which can be considered as highly authentic, passionately made and praiseworthy. The first one is Chetan Anand's Haqeeqat(1964), an immortal movie made on the Indo-China war of 1962. The credit for the other two goes to J.P. Dutta only who made first Border(1997) based on the famous Battle of Loungewala during the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and six years later, he came up with LOC-Kargil(2003) which, true to its title, is based on the war between the infiltrators backed by the Pakistan army and the brave Indian soldiers in the hilly region of Kargil(Kashmir).
On the midnight of 14th August, 1947, India got partitioned and a perennial enemy started to exist in her neighbourhood, i.e., Pakistan. Pakistan fought three wars with India, the first one within a couple of months of its birth only, i.e., in October 1947. When the Kabaayalis who were none else than the Pakistani soldiers only, were defeated and driven out by the Indian army, a ceasefire line was drawn which divided the region of Kashmir into two parts. One part is still known as Pak-occupied-Kashmir(POK) and the other one is in India since then. That ceasefire line is commonly known as Line of Control(LOC). The issue was taken to the United Nations and it is still unresolved. The Indian army has been given strict instructions never to cross the LOC in any condition but its sanctity has been time and again violated by the Pakistani soldiers since the very outset.
In 1999, under the scheme of General Parvez Musharraf, our perennial enemy backstabbed us and Pakistani soldiers crossed the LOC in the disguise of civilian infiltrators. Some of the regular patrol parties of Indian soldiers including young soldiers like Captain Saurabh Kaalia and Captain Amit Bhaardwaaj went missing and later on, the damaged corpses of our young soldiers were found. And then the eyes of the sleeping Indian politicians and the intelligence bureau got opened to the fact that there had been large scale illegal infiltration on our soil from the other side of the LOC. A formally undeclared war started which lasted for around 50 days and we lost several precious lives of Indian soldiers. The war had to be won in the end and we won it but the price that had been paid was just too much. Still we could not gain what we should have gained in the end because our soldiers were prohibited to cross the LOC in any condition. And due to lack of political will, we lost a golden opportunity to get POK liberated and correct the historical error of 1947.
The memory of the Indian masses is short and we very easily forget the sacrifices of the sacrificing ones and get back to our routines of earning a living. Hence, J.P. Dutta tagged the line to the title of this movie -'BEFORE WE FORGET'. Yes, he did an exemplary thing by making this movie before the invaluable sacrifices of the young bravehearts were forgotten by the Indian public. Mr. Dutta used real locations and even real ammunition to shoot this movie. And thereby he has brought the passionate and emotional tales of the real Indian soldiers like Lieutenant Vikram Batra, Lieutenant Manoj Pandey, Captain Anuj Nayyar, Major Rajesh Adhikaari, Major Padmapaani Aacharya, Lieutenant Colonel R. Vishwanathan, Captain Vijayant Thaapar, Sepoy Yogendra Singh etc. alive on the screen. All the small and big tales with less footage to some and more footage to some other, are real and sensitive to the hilt. I watched this movie in its complete form(more than four hours) on a pirated VCD first and thereafter in the moth-eaten form(less than three hours) in the theatre with my friend - Mr. P.L. Prajapati in the Aakash cinema of Kota. The scenes of sacrifices of Major Rajesh Adhikaari(Karan Naath) and Captain Vijayant Thaapar(Amar Upadhyaay) made me burst into tears in the theatre.
Mr. Dutta has presented everything with utmost authenticity on the screen which shows his deep research work in this regard. He has brought that period of May-July 1999 alive on the screen. A great effort indeed which entitles him for a big hand by the audience. Besides, he has been able to extract exemplary performances from the complete cast. Whether the role is a smaller one(like that of Himanshu Mallik) or a bigger one(like that of Ajay Devgan), everybody has given nothing short of his best. May it be Sanjay Dutt or Abhishek Bachchan or Saif Ali Khan or Manoj Bajpai or Akshay Khanna or Sunil Shetty or Sudesh Berry or anyone else, everybody has excelled. Ashutosh Rana has generated smiles and laughs too in this otherwise serious movie. However I feel, Raj Babbar and Mohnish Behl were miscast in the movie and J.P. Dutta should have included actors like Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Puneet Issar in his cast. Females did not have much to do. Nevertheless all have done well. Esha Deol, Kareena Kapoor and Raani Mukherjee have got some footage whereas actresses like Aakanksha, Divya Dutta and the actress who played the role of the wife of Hawaldaar Bahadur(Puru Raajkumar) have barely got the screen time that gets consumed in just a blink. All the same, everyone has given her best with utmost sincerity and dedication that's required for the character assigned. The best female performer is undoubtedly, Maaya Alagh. This veteran actress has delivered a highly touching performance as the mother of Lieutenant Manoj Pandey(Ajay Devgan).
The dialogs have been written by J.P. Dutta's father, late O.P. Dutta(who passed away on 09.02.2012) and they are damn impressive at several places. Still in such a long movie, the number of punching dialogs is quite less. Speaking something about the effort of the cinematographer will be trying to show light to the sun. Even the scenes taking place in the night are pretty clear on the screen and highly emphatic.Technically this movie is just superb. All the action sequences are pretty realistic.
Anu Malik's music with Jaaved Akhtar's lyrics could not top up the charts but if you just listen to the songs peacefully and patiently, you will feel the quality of both the words and the tunes. The songs are quite long because the director had to accommodate the scenes of several actors while the song was continuing but they are highly patriotic as well as touching. My favourite is Seemayen Bulaayen Tujhe Chal Raahi. But the other songs - Main Kahin Bhi Rahoon Har Kadam Har Ghadi, Pyar Bhara Geet Koi Dekho Piya Tumko Gaana Hi Hoga, Aao Jo Laut Ke Tum Ghar Ho Khushi Se Bhara etc. are also impressive and perfectly in line with the mood and the genre of the movie.
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