Monday, March 12, 2007


-By Swetha Amit
It’s no secret that numerous Indo-Pak wars have occurred in the past. Among these the 1971 proved to be one of the most crucial.

An interesting fact to be noted here are the lives of the Indian POWs/prisoners of the war who were captured alive and kept by the opponent. The film 1971 portrays the story of such captives in the enemy camp, who try and escape into their motherland.

A question that persists in the minds of everyone is why are such individuals of the Indian army held as prisoners in Pakistan? This was despite the fact of India having released numerous of such prisoners to their rival country.

The film unfolds the story of a group of such Indian prisoners in the Pakistani jails who strive with the hope of being released one fine day. Major Suraj Singh (Manoj Bajpai) and his team Captain Jacob (Ravi Kissen), Subedar Ahmed (Chitaranjan Giri), Captain Kabir (Kumud Mishra), Flight Lt. Ram (Manav Kaul) and Flight Lt. Gurtu (Deepak Dobriyal), along with 50 others are shifted to a secluded Chaklala camp to keep them away from the eyes of the Red cross who suspect the unfair possessing of such beings by the government.

False hopes are hurled out to these perplexed soldiers to prevent their escape, only to throw them back into prison once the Red Cross is out. Suspicion occurs in the mind of Major Suraj Singh, which is proved right. From there begins the unraveling of a master mind plan depicting an attempt of the great escape into their nation. This dangerous mission is accompanied with a constant threat of being chased by their enemies’.

Nothing stops these brave warriors as they combat the speedy bullets firing from all ends, risking their beloved lives for one another. Their admirable grit and determination fights the attacks hauled from different directions as their agile minds work out a crafty retort to their chasers. Being in a small number does work to their disadvantage, as they see their injured loved ones close their eyes forever.

One can imagine the mental anguish and torture seeing their friends enter the jaws of death in spite of repeated attempts to save their lives. No matter how tough these valiant soldiers seem, it does not deprive them of the normal humane feelings of grieving over a loss of a close one.

Struggling to limp along, they encounter the frost bites in the bitter cold weather of the mighty snow capped mountains. After what seemed like eternity, they discover the Indian border and their joy knows no bounds as they see their country flag waving at them.

Before they could unveil their true identity to the Indian military, a turn in events causes an ironical tragic ending. They are shot by their rivals in their home boundary and dragged back from where they fled on the pretext of being court martialed.

A brilliant film by Amrit Sagar and portrays sound performances by all the actors.

Based on a true story, the movie depicts the conditions of such P.O.Ws who are languishing in the enemy territory. A truth which is known yet chose to be ignored without justice being given to the mighty heroes even by the Human rights commission. It is a miserable plight to see such sacrificing souls who have risked their lives for the country to lead such pitiable lives in anonymity. It is extremely unfair that their courage and patriotism are rewarded in such a brutal manner. Enslaving such individuals indeed represents the sadism of humanity.

Their stark ironies that while such admirable endurance by the army, who fought for the freedom, are deprived of it themselves. Has the struggle for independence of their nation, in other words stripped them out of theirs? It remains an unresolved issue even till today.
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