wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
The story is captivating. The movie though is a hotch-potch of situations strung together messily. The war might be better served if we educated ourselves about it rather than watched this botch-up of a film.
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Only one thing can happen when a film is more interested in glamourising an event rather than telling the story. The story suffers. Bhuj makes the story secondary to its ambition of embellishing it with as much grandeur as is possible. And some more.
No one interrupts a whole village that is singing when time-sensitive war strategies are being executed.
There is a lot to unpack in the 1971 war at the Bhuj base. Too many people played important roles without whom an Indian victory would have been impossible. Of course, it would have been unfair to leave out any of them. But cramming them together in half an hour, that too in a non-linear, cut-and-paste kind of a narrative, is a severe disservice too.
Way too many side-stories are thrown at us with inconsistent and patchy details. Also, nuggets of information pass by without any context. So the film becomes an unnecessarily complicated maze instead of a jigsaw puzzle that is fun to put together. To top it off, it is unevenly paced too.
It doesn’t help that the jingoism and the drums that roll with it aren’t given a break at all. The movie starts with a weird equivalence between Pakistani citizens and the Mughals. Also, it tries to place the blame of the 1971 war on the shoulders of freedom fighters who took on leadership of new India. Even with the film’s disclaimer being a dramatised version of history, comments like these don’t let you take the movie seriously. Not that it is easy otherwise. For it wants you to think of a person, who saves animals but chops off humans, as valiant. For it wants you to believe that politicians and top military officers are clueless about the difficulty faced and strategy involved in keeping national borders safe. For it wants you to think that a pilot can actually lift extra weight in a plane by pulling the wheel hard.
The rest of the movie then is army bases shooting down aircrafts, aircrafts bombarding other aircrafts and aircrafts attacking army bases. Of course, it’s not like anyone was expecting anything different from a war film. However, considering Bhuj had many details from war strategy to share, it could have done with a lot less shoddily edited war scenes and people washing blood off their faces as if it was tomato ketchup.
It is the actors’ earnestness that makes the going on marginally acceptable. But even in a short film stuffed with a lot of content, we have enough time to wonder why only Sonakshi Sinha’s character has exotic tattoos on her neck while the rest of the women from her village don’t. Yes, unfortunately, most characters are required to host a single expression through most of the film, while mouthing over-written lines.
There are “lines” that make no sense. Other dialogue is trying too hard to be inspiring poetry. Facts are repeated twice, thrice and some even four times—as if the audience would forget something that was explained to them just a few minutes ago. Of course, the explanation is only for the audience. Else, why would the entire village need to be told the situation it has been living in for years now.
Bhuj makes the story secondary to its ambition of embellishing it with as much grandeur as is possible. And some more.
This one repetition was extra annoying because, well, it was extra. A woman is asked to take control of a situation by a man. And that woman, while she is trying to inspire a whole village to put their lives at stake, is interrupted by the same man to explain the same thing and inspire the same way! Then there were the inane lines. For instance, an officer is surprised that the man he sent to the war field is dead. And guess what, no one interrupts a whole village singing when time-sensitive war strategies are being executed.
It was also painful to watch the lost opportunities in editing three parts of a war strategy being executed at three locations parallelly. The editing from one site to another seemed disjointed and jerky. The only thing keeping them together was the background music you learned to ignore in the first ten minutes because it is trying so hard to get your attention. Also, watching the implementation of a hurriedly put up strategy is interesting. So that helps in ignoring the constant crescendo.
Yes, Bhuj tried to give us details usually missing in war films, which took me by surprise. Even if some of these details are fabricated, they are compelling enough to make you want to find out more. But I would suggest you read up on the events rather than watch a film with its own agenda. War is not glamourous. Grief over lost lives is glossed over by pride. That we show no remorse at waging war, even if a righteous one, tells us there is much wrong with the world.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Prema Yadav, India TV : ...Bhuj: The Pride of India makes it to the must-watch list this Independence Day. It is surely for Ajay Devgn fans but Sharad Kelkar also manages to shine through.... full review
So-So, ABP Live : ...Overall, ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India' is a feeble attempt at fulfilling the Independence Day patriotism quotient and does not leave you with either a puffed-up chest, or misty eyes.... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, Bhuj: The Pride Of India brings to life an important aspect from the 1971 war. It’s a good enough history lesson if you choose to ignore the over-the-top narration and Paki-bashing involved in the telling... full review
So-So, by Nairita Mukherjee, india today : ...Final thoughts? Even with Ajay Devgn walking in slow motion, looking all suave in that IAF uniform, for us, the film belongs to Sharad Kelkar. And that's a shame; this is his second Disney+Hotstar film where despite being the clear hero, he remains in the shadow of the bigger star... full review
So-So, by Sanjana Jhadav, Pinkvilla : ...If you love patriotic films, you can give Bhuj: The Pride of India a watch over this Independence Day weekend. Otherwise, there's plenty other content releasing this week to keep you hooked.... full review
So-So, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...If you can ignore the religious propaganda and focus solely on the story, Bhuj makes for an interesting watch, despite the initial hiccups.... full review
Thumbs down, Bollywood Life : ...Intentionally or unintentionally, Bhuj: The Pride of India is so hilarious that it's destined to go down as a classic 'it's so bad that it's good' film. Sadly, the unimaginable intrepidity and sacrifice of those involved in this story deserved far, far, far better. I'm going with 1 out of 5 stars.... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...This is why if there were a drinking game based on the mentions of the word ‘Bhuj’ in this review, the people of Bhuj can’t legally play it. This is why writing makes me thirsty (for non-alcoholic beverages). This is why I’ve run out of space. This is why I like my job.... full review
Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...In his review of The Last Airbender, Roger Ebert had written that the film “is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.” That’s also true for Bhuj: the Pride of India.... full review
Thumbs down, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Zaalima Coco Cola' and 'Bhai Bhai' fails to make it to the final cut of the film. The other songs are forgettable. The background score doesn't give you any adrenaline rush.... full review
Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...Bhuj: The Pride of India clearly does not want to be like either of these two films, but it fails miserably even in its attempt to be hormonally-charged, flag-waving, chest-thumping, clichéd nationalist entertainment. Yawn.... full review
Thumbs down, by Soumya Srivastawa, Hindustan Times : ...he silver lining is too thin to ignore the dark, dark cloud that is Bhuj. It looms large and sinister over the future of war films in India. If this is how gutsy we're already getting with hate, I wonder what to expect next.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Finally, we get to see the ladies, dressed to the nines in colourful ghagras, who did the actual work. They are led by the incredibly brave mother-of-a-tot (Sonakski Sinha) who is equally good at giving speeches as she is at singing ‘desh bhakti geet’: the women are suitably moved, and armed with massive ‘dhols’ and ‘nagadas’, which they manage to play vigorously in the middle of battle. Yes, that’s right, go along and do the needful. Good girls.... full review
Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...That if you get past the hardness of this tarbhooj (watermelon) of a war-movie, you could splice several portions into succulent, stand-alone YouTube videos. Unsure if the filmmakers agree? Think Yahya says ya. Start with him!... full review
Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Hardly surprising that the film is dead on arrival. Common sense goes missing in action once the explosions begin, which, sad to report, is from scene one. For the remaining two hours, Bhuj: The Pride Of India is busy gathering the scattered splinters of its insipid ideas made infinitely worse by resolutely ham-fisted treatment. Nothing to be proud of.... full review
Thumbs down, News18.com : ...In the end the film which has run time of 120 minutes feels long and boring . There is nothing to proud of Bhuj - The pride of india. instead i would recommend watching Shershaah this weekend.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sushmita Sen, NewsBytes : ...Other than overdramatic dialogues and poor screenplay, the movie was unevenly paced, and lacked the right emotions. It seems the director was in a hurry to finish it, as no particular scene is shown properly.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Showing up after more than half of its 153 minutes running time, Sonakshi Sinha, all prim and pretty in her fancy costumes and ethnic makeup, leads the girl gang to accomplish the actual purpose of Bhuj. That the woman can slay fake looking leopards using sickles and fire arrows at Raavan effigies is enough for Karnik to place faith in her abilities.... full review
Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Always better on terra firma than in the air (the visual effects are poorly executed for one thing), the movie finally settles into coherence in the lengthy climax. As Indian and Pakistani soldiers, tanks and weapons battle each other, Bhuj finally delivers bang for the buck.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo, The Hindu : ...Bhuj is no Uri: The Surgical Strike or Raazi to keep us invested in the on-screen happenings. It isn’t a gripping action drama, let alone a war film inspired by real events. The women of Kutch and the Indian army heroes deserved a better film.... full review
Thumbs down, by Stutee Ghosh, The Quint : ...hen a doctor suggests that Vijay Karnik must get his x-ray done and rest, he storms out in slow motion – “Everything will happen after I win the war,” he bellows. Then slow-mos a little more. Ajay Devgn is the only one given the courtesy of elaborate slow-mo shots to drive home the point that he is the one who does everything.... full review
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