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Operation Valentine Review: Grand Setting, Low Impact

Operation Valentine Review: Grand Setting, Low Impact

Movie: Operation Valentine
Rating: 2.25/5
Sony Pictures International Productions, Renaissance Pictures, God Bless Entertainment
Cast: Varun Tej, Manushi Chhillar, Ruhani Sharma, Navdeep, Paresh Pahuja, Sampath Raj and others
Screenplay: Shakti Pratap Singh Hada, Aamir Khan, Siddharth Rajkumar
Dialogues: Sai Madhav Burra
Music: Mickey J Meyer
DOP: Hari K Vedantam
Editor: Navin Nooli
Production Designer: Avinash Kolla
Action: Vijay
Producers: Sony Pictures & Sandeep Mudda
Directed by: Shakti Pratap Singh Hada
Release Date: March 01, 2024

Never before in Telugu cinema have we seen a story or film about the Indian Air Force and their combat activities. "Operation Valentine" has therefore garnered attention for its content and the striking visuals presented in its trailer. 

Let's find out whether the film lives up to its promise.

Arjun Dev (Varun Tej) and his wife Ahana Gill (Manushi Chhillar) hold the rank of wing commanders in the Indian Air Force. Arjun is a test pilot who evaluates military aircraft before they are used by other soldiers.

Arjun devises Project Vajra, a strategy involving flying close to the ground to evade detection by enemy radar. During their test mission, Arjun and Ahana tragically lose their close friend Navdeep, causing strain in their relationship.

Ahana tells Arjun to refrain from working on that project in the future or else they will have to break up. After Pakistan terrorists conducted terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir resulting in the martyrdom of 40 CRPF jawans, the Indian government and Indian Air Force chose to retaliate by conducting airstrikes on Pakistan terrorist camps.

Arjun must proceed with Project Vajra while Ahana, the radar commander, must provide guidance. How did Arjun successfully execute the operation this time and bring pride to Indian Air Force?

Artistes’ Performances:
Varun Tej absolutely fits the character of an Air Force pilot. His ‘cutout’ itself is enough to believe him as an Air Force officer and Varun Tej does the role convincingly. He is also good in emotional sequence. Manushi Chhillar as another Air Force officer does her job neatly.

However, the chemistry between them as the lead pair or husband and wife is almost nil.

Navdeep plays a cameo and you will miss him if you blink. Ruhani Sharma has nothing much to do. Paresh Pahuja’s romantic-at-heart jokes doesn’t work at all.

Technical Excellence:
Hari Vedantam's cinematography is excellent. The action choreography, particularly the aerial combat and airstrikes, is very impressive. The visual effects are neat.

The cinematography and action must be highlighted for this film to work, and both the technical team have executed their work well. Mickey J Meyer's music has minimal impact.

Airborne adventure
Varun Tej’s look

The first half
Lack of enough patriotic moments
Low emotional impact

"Operation Valentine," directed by debutant filmmaker Shakti Pratap Singh, primarily focuses on the Pulwama Attack and India's subsequent airstrikes against Pakistani terrorist groups, which are considered one of the most lethal terrorist attacks in India.

The Indian Air Force carried out these airstrikes with the political backing of the Indian government and Prime Minister, representing a strong retaliation. While the film does not directly reference real events, they are easily inferred.

The main storyline is patriotic and resonates with all Indians. However, Shakti Pratap Singh’s screenplay is largely incoherent, particularly in the first half of the film, which lacks engagement.

Although the film is more interested in depicting the Air Force pilots' performance during daring attacks and operations rather than focusing solely on the Pulwama attack, the initial part of the film primarily portrays the events leading up to the Pulwama attack.

It introduces the characters at an airbase and explores the strained relationship between the husband and wife portrayed by Varun Tej and Manushi.

This segment of the film is poorly executed. The sequences depicting the relationship between Varun Tej and Manushi lack an authentic Indian essence and appear to be directly lifted from a Hollywood film. Their interactions feel more like those between fellow officers rather than a typical Indian couple, failing to convey the impression of a husband and wife. The back-and-forth narrative in the beginning fails to engage the audience.

However, the narration improves just before the interval and effectively maintains our attention in the second half. The highlight of the movie is the airstrikes and the subsequent events that unfold after the intermission.

The director presents India's most intense aerial attacks in a captivating manner. These sequences provide an excellent cinematic experience, although most of the film lacks emotional depth and engagement.

The screenplay is somewhat trite, with several characters lacking well-developed character arcs, including those played by Sampath Raj and Ruhani Sharma.

Ruhani Sharma's character, initially built up significantly, is underutilized thereafter. Yash Sharma's character, portrayed by Paresh, and his jokes may resonate with Hindi audiences but come across as typical dubbed-movie humor in the Telugu version. Additionally, Sai Madhav Burra's dialogues lack patriotic fervor, with the dialogue "Emi Jarigina Sare Choosukundam" lacking the necessary impact.

Overall, "Operation Valentine" is the first Telugu airforce drama that provides some thrilling airborne adventure but fails to fully capitalize on its potential. The film lacks essential emotional depth and is hindered by a cheesy narration at the start. However, the visuals and airstrikes in the second half, along with the unique setup, are the better aspects of the film.

Bottom line: Operation Not Successful

Guntur Karam: A Rich Blend


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