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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Bunker movie review: A brave, necessary attempt

Some sequences go on for too long, and there are places where the lack of finesse is evident, but it works for the film. Spit and polish is strictly for uniforms: the life (and death) of a soldier is a messy thing.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Published: January 17, 2020 5:23:24 pm
Bunker movie review Bunker movie review: Bunker reminds me a little of the 2001 Oscar winner No Man’s Land.

Bunker movie cast: Abhijeet Singh, Arindita Kalita
Bunker movie director: Jugal Raja
Bunker movie rating: 2.5 stars

On the LOC in Poonch sector, a bunker manned by Indian soldiers has been attacked. Captain Vikram Singh (Singh) is seriously injured, blood running down his eyes: his fellow soldiers, including a favourite subedaar, are dead.

This film, which is set mostly in the tiny bunker, works as a metaphor for the senselessness of all war. India and Pakistan, locked for decades in an endless conflict, may win or lose some bunkers. But the loss of life impacts all humans, whichever side of the border they inhabit.

Bunker reminds me a little of the 2001 Oscar winner No Man’s Land, where the struggle for survival of two enemy soldiers is mediated by an awareness that both are human. Vikram’s inability to see, and to move (his leg is badly hurt) forces him into a corner, and that is a position most soldiers find themselves in whether they are on the front, or not: theirs not to reason why etc.

Home life, or what passes for it, is also affected. In a brief segment, we are introduced to Vikram’s TV professional wife Swara (Kalita), who is holding up the home front, eagerly waiting for her husband to come back and take care of their three-year-old daughter, while she goes back to work.

This separation, which a ‘fauji’ family is so used to, and bears mostly with good grace, is done well. And we see the bravery of the man in the face of fire– a soldier named Javed stumbles into the bunker as Vikram waits for rescue– whether he is Indian or Pakistani.

In the current times, when jingoism is the name of the game, and the ‘enemy’ within and without is being vilified non-stop, a film like Bunker is a brave, necessary attempt.

Some sequences go on for too long, and there are places where the lack of finesse is evident, but it works for the film. Spit and polish is strictly for uniforms: the life (and death) of a soldier is a messy thing.

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