1971 poster


wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

Story-story-story! Not that this subject has been dealt with earlier. And even if the other aspects are just a little above average, it’s the details in the story itself and the narration style that make this movie worth watching. Certainly worth a watch.

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Director: Amrit Sagar
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Social, Thriller, War
More Movie Info

Don’t write it off as yet another war movie. For one, it is more an ‘escape’ movie than a war movie. Secondly, it is a warm movie. It makes you think of the futility of it all - the partition, the wars themselves, the retention of the prisoners of war. The beauty of the movie lies in how focused the story is. There is no dilly-dallying, no silly or non-silly sub-plots.

This is one of those rare scripts that can be appreciated without awesome or awe-inspiring dialogues. It has a gripping well-paced screenplay which surprises you, shocks you, and disturbs you. The dialogues are simple without being inane. In fact the restraint used in avoiding over-the-top heavy lines is simply admirable. The very expected “Pakistan-bashing” dialogues are conspicuous by their absence.

The background music is beautiful. However, my problem was with the over-use. The quality is ruined by the quantity. There was background music almost throughout the movie and it was loud – louder than the dialogue at times.

The acting by all the lead actors is not top-notch but is good enough not to distract you from the story. It’s the dialogue delivery of the supporting cast that is…weird. The actors playing roles in the Pakistani military brought laughs where none are warranted. And why-oh-why was the helicopter pilot doing a Dev Anand?

No single scene might jerk tears but it surely brings a lump in your throat when the credits roll – not with the names of the crew members but with names and pictures of the real prisoners of war - the men who put their lives on line so that we could live comfortably.

- meeta, a part of the audience

9 reviewers(?) - 6 yays 3 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, B4U TV : ...Without doubt the movie is a complete eye-opener for all those who are clueless about the Indian POWs who are languishing in the dingy cells of Multan Jail in Pakistan... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...nstead of taking the easy way out by making a masala film and padding it with stars, Amrit needs a pat for opting for an unconventional theme and casting actors, not stars... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, indya.com : ...Never once does he unnecessarily cross the line and indulge in unwanted Pak bashing... full review

Thumbs up, by Syed Firdaus Ashraf, Rediff : ... the film is a no-nonsense tale about six Indian prisoners awaiting release after their capture in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, SantaBanta.com : ...What is credible about the film is that it does not paint the two nations in black and white... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Shukla, SmasHits.com : ...If he markets himself well, '1971' can prove a turning point in his career.... full review

So-So, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...You are always left feeling conscious of watching a movie and being alienated from the characters... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...several actors give the impression there's a cash prize for the most theatrical performance... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...Director Amrit Sagar manages to make "1971" look filled-out and believable, not just at the centre but also at the edges... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Indian soldiers fighting the war of 1971 were held as prisoners of war in Pakistan. But, no one except a few Pakistani Military heads knew of their existence. Pakistan clearly denied any Prisoners of War being detained. Six years later, with no hope of repatriation, six of them make a plan to escape from the detention camp. How they do it and do they succeed? Find out in a theater.

What Worked

  • The top angle shot in which the Pakistani Army searches Muzzafarbad.
  • The drop of blood shown falling on the ground. One of those gory things that is picturised beautifully.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

Just because this list is relatively longer, doesn't mean I have to hate the movie. My overall rating indicates the general feeling I have while leaving the theatre. These just happened to be some things that did not work.

  • How come the hotel owners don't get suspicious/concerned about an injured soldier?
  • The cinematic liberty taken to show the heroic nature of Flight Lt. Ram. Your heart claps for him, but the unrealistic portrayal seems out of place.
  • The fight between the Human Rights Activist and the Pakistani military leaders. It looked like a verbal street fight, could have been done with more elegance, like the rest of the movie.


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • In the scene in which Subedar Ahmed is reading an Urdu newspaper, it seems like he is reading it from left to right. Sentences in Urdu are written right to left.
  • What was the white piece of clothing they were dyeing?
  • The helicopter pilot, what position was he at? How come he was passing orders all along? Can't resist repeating this - why did he have a Dev Anand style of dialogue delivery.
  • Why was Major Suraj Singh trying to start the vehicle when he knew it had run out of petrol?
  • This one is not related to the movie, but wanted to mention it. I loved the animation of the 'Studio 10' logo.

1971 - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (1)

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Hi shiva, I agree with you about how well-made the movie is. It's a shame that such movies leave without a trace.

As far as the politics of the issue go, I don't I completely understand all the dynamics, so wouldn't want to comment on it.

Nevertheless, a highly recommended movie. At least, to get yourself thinking about the people who keep you safe in your country.

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