Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Ravi Kissen, Manav Kaul, Deepak Dobriyal
Direction: Amrit Sagar
And God must have created this week. Amrit Sagar’s 1971, a study of Indian prisoners of war who were given up for dead, has its passages -- the nail-biting segment of the POWs being pursued through snowy terrain by the Pakistani army and the deeply stirring climax.
Sagar re-opens an investigation into the lives of the POWs, who after the war for Bangladesh, seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. The screenplay is the proverbial eye-opener, although it does suffer from a pace slower than a Patton tank out of fuel.
On the plus side, during the moments of Stalag-17ish escape, the action masterminded by Shyam Kaushal and camerawork by Chirantan Das are extraordinary.
At the head of the ensemble cast, Manoj Bajpai is excellent, determined and implosive. Ravi Kissan is correctly low-key. And the supporting cast is superb, anyone looking for character actors needn’t look further anymore.
Deepak Dobriyal (of Omkara), Chitaranjan Giri and Kumud Mishra score 10 on a scale of 10. Scriptwriter Piyush Mishra, also portaying a glib-tongued Pakistani army officer, is first-rate. Quite clearly, the show’s discovery is tellydom’s Manav Kaul who grabs your attention and empathy.
Doubtlessly, the tempo is a problem. But those who have the patience to wait for the flashes of excellence in this 15-reeler are in for a rewarding time. Move over J P Dutta, Amrit Sagar is here.