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The men of Kargil deserve better

Arnab Ray | December 27, 2003 15:35 IST

A still from LoCIt is very difficult to be objective in evaluating movies on noble subjects. And themes cannot get much nobler than the Kargil martyrs.
But subject matter alone does not cut it: for a movie to be great or even good it has to work as a 'movie.' Which, regrettably, J P Dutta's LoC-Kargil does not.

Dutta endeavours to tell the stories of as many war heroes as he can in the space of four hours, not leaving anyone out or any story untold. But to do such a thing effectively, a multi-part documentary on the lines of the lavish Tom Hanks-HBO production, Band Of Brothers would have been ideal.
Dutta tries to work what should have been a documentary into a movie, with rather disappointing results. Focusing on one character or two would have managed to convey the heroism and sense of loss much more effectively in the context of a movie. But throwing in all the heroes in Bollywood and a heroine for each of them, he creates a mind-numbing assortment of almost-similar love stories that play on in an iterative loop punctuated by songs that span 15 minutes each.
I believe that ends up diluting the emotional punch of the movie. If there has ever been a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, LoC is it.

With Hindi movies making leaps in finesse and polish, LoC had an excellent opportunity to set the bar for technical achievement in Indian mainstream cinema. With its theme being a battle fought in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the world, one would have expected awesome visuals, unforgettable battle scenes and soul-stirring background music.
Here also, LoC is a let down: the battle scenes all look the same. None leave an impact like the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan.

Great war movies sometimes are the greatest tributes to the men of war. Saving Private Ryan, with its awe-inspiring visuals and a handful of well-etched characters is the greatest tribute to American soldiers in the World War II captured on celluloid.
Other lesser movies about heroes like Enemy At The Gates (which had a love story set amidst the epic battle for Stalingrad) tug at your heartstrings.
LoC, much like the recent Pearl Harbor, pales in comparison to these movies because, despite the nobility of its theme, it is just not good cinema.

The men of Kargil deserve much better.
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