There was a war I was fighting with myself (to hit the stop button or to continue playing, hoping things will get better) while watching Disney Hotstar's latest web show, 1962: The War In The Hills starring Abhay Deol in the main lead as Major Sooraj Singh.
Based on the 1962 Indo-China war over Ladakh, this web series is horribly long, extremely slow-paced and far away from giving the goosebumps which one gets while watching a patriotic movie. The web series has 10 episodes, each episode 50 mins long. Phew! Though I have many questions to ask but the most pertinent will be- Why didn't the director, national award winner Mahesh Manjrekar, make this laborious show into a 2-hour-long film instead?
If you're expecting this show to be out and out war-based, then you will be highly disappointed because it majorly unfolds the journey of a soldier's life back at home and their families' struggles. The moment you want to know what's going to happen on the war field next, you are interrupted with some personal grief or issue, and bam, there dies all your patriotism and excitement before any soldier on the warfront.
Why this web show nosedived is courtesy not one but plenty of reasons- too many sub-plots, excessively dramatic background score, badly written dialogues and even worse casting. Abhay Deol's demeanor is way too polite and soft to be an army man, and no I did not expect him to pull off a Sunny Deol from Border, but there are some basic requirements when you play a soldier and inspite of Abhay being a great actor, this was not his game.
In fact, not just Abhay, the supporting cast like Annup Sonii, Sairat fame Akash Thosar, Rohan Gandotra, fail to soak themselves completely in their characters. There is also Mahie Gill, whose dialogue delivery seems to be off, but it's slightly better than the unpardonable dubbing for Rochelle Rao's character, Rinpa. Meiyang Chang does a decent job as the Chinese Major Lin.
Another jarring issue was the VFX used to create war scenes. Well, they are beyond ammateur. For a moment, I felt I was watching a PUBG game. The last episode is dragged and you literally want to push the 'skip 10 seconds' button every 10 seconds! The entire plot of the Indo-China war- what actually happened and what was the outcome- just fades off and is engulfed by the emotional dope.
Overall, 1962: The War In The Hills is a sluggish and extremely gimmicky attempt at making a patriotic film. Please do not put in 9 hours of your valuable time in it and give it a skip. I will rate it 2 stars and say it's blahworthy!
Image source: Hotstar
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