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'Ghazi' Review: Gripping and Stunning!

Movie: Ghazi
Rating: 3.5/5
Banner:
PVP Cinema, Matinee Entertainments
Cast: Rana, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri, Nasser, Milind Gunz, Tapsee, and others
Screenplay: Gunnam Gangaraju, Niranjan Reddy
Dialogues: Gunnam Gangaraju
Cinematography: Madhie 
Music: K
Editing: Sreekar Prasad 
Producer: Niranjan Reddy, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Pearl V Potlri, Param Potluri, Kavin Anne
Story, screenplay and Direction: Sankalp 
Release date: Feb 17, 2017

After "Baahubali", this is a major film for Rana wherein he has played the main lead. Made on a huge budget and publicized as India's first war-at-sea movie, "Ghazi" has created huge buzz.

With Karan Johar buying the rights to the movie for the Hindi market, expectations around the movie soared. Has the movie lived up to all the hype?

Story:
The film is based on the Indian version of the navy's attack on Pakistan's submarine Ghazi that sunk near Visakhapatnam. Following intelligence reports that Pakistan is planning to attack one of India's ports, an S-21 submarine is sent into the sea.

Led by Capt Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon), officer Devaraj (Atul Kulkarni) and Lieutenant Arjun (Rana Daggubati), the submarine begins a classified search mission.

The Pakistani submarine Ghazi comes close to East Coast of India to target INS Vikrant. How S-21 submarine attacks  Ghazi and sinks it forms the rest of the story.

Artistes’ Performances:
Rana as young captain has put in a sincere effort. He does not make much of an impression in the beginning but shines in his role as the story progresses.  

Kay Kay Menon has given a top class performance. As a stern Commander, he is convincing although he does tend to go overboard in some scenes.

Atul Kulkarni is decent. Satyadev is impressive. Tapsee is wasted and gets a role which should have been played by a junior artiste.

Rahul Singh as Pakistan commander is good. Om Puri and Nasser appear in brief roles. Megastar Chiranjeevi has given voice-over in the beginning of the film.

Technical Excellence:
The major highlight of the movie is recreating the submarine. A huge hydraulic set was created for the movie in Hyderabad which has looked completely authentic in the movie. The detailing is remarkable. This is where the movie has scored.

Then comes the cinematography; Madhie has given his best. The feel of being inside the submarine has come due to his framing and lighting.

The production design and the production values are excellent. Krishna Kumar's background score is perfect. Editing by Sreekara Prasad is taut; the movie has just 2 hours 10 minutes of runtime without any songs.

Dialogues by Gunnam Gangaraju and screenplay by Niranjan Reddy are good. New director Sankalp Reddy is a promising talent.

Highlights:
First of its kind genre
Gripping story
Submarine set, production design
Cinematography
Second half

Drawback:
Climax
Tapsee's track

Analysis:
"Ghazi" is a fictional account of a historic event that took place in 1971. The mystery behind the sinking of Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi is decoded by director Sankalp in his own way. The film is part real, part fiction.

It is truly a new kind of movie as this genre of submarine war drama was not explored earlier either in Tollywood or in other movie industries in India. Many war movies came in India but this is India's first underwater, war-at-sea film.

Director Sankalp Reddy has not only chosen a unique storyline, he has also assembled the best technical team to execute his idea on screen. We don't see many combat sequences or bombing episodes, the story dwells more on the drama of how the events took place, with riveting narration.

Story begins with Chiranjeevi's narration explaining what made this Indian submarine team go into the sea. Then the drama focuses on clashes between Rana and Kay Kay Menon regarding the rules and strategies to attack Pakistan's submarine. Till the interval, the drama goes on this way with the mood building up slowly.

In the very beginning, the director has created a mood of being under water. The first half of the movie gives mixed feelings but the second half keeps you on the edge of the seat as the submarines of both Pakistan and India go head-to-head, firing torpedoes. Tension is created in a terrific manner.

While Pakistan's submarine is equipped with best technology, India's submarine is at sinking stage. From that awful situation, how the brave Indian soldiers led by Rana bring down the Ghazi and emerge victorious is told in a completely riveting way. The screenplay, the narration, and the technical finesse in these parts are superb.

The movie's core-strength lies in the second half. Although the climax part, especially the scene of bringing down the Ghazi, is tacky, when you leave the theaters you leave with a feeling of respect for our soldiers.

The works of cinematographer and art director/production designer are the main asset to the movie. These technicians have shown their craftsmanship and artistry brilliantly.

However, on the flip side, the film has few dramatic moments. Some sequences reveal the inexperience  of the director. The director has focused only on three main characters. The rest of the characters, the other soldiers in the submarine suffer from poor characterisation. Also the track of Tapsee and a child who come onboard the submarine is downright silly and has not served any purpose.

However, given the ambitious nature of the story and other constraints, we should ignore these glitches. The director and his technical team have tried their best to tell a compelling story.

All in all, the film will be a milestone for the cast and crew and as well as for the production houses who have invested heavily on this war drama. Producers should be applauded for making this movie. On the flip side, Ghazi may not appeal to general audience who come to the movies for lighter vein entertainment. So its prospects at the box office will be limited. However, multiplex audiences and the urban youth will gladly welcome the 'change' that Ghazi brings to Tollywood. It will be remembered forever as one of the best movies made in Telugu cinema.

Bottom-line: Nail-biting Patriotic Thriller

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