Ranneeti Balakot and Beyond Review: Lara Dutta, Jimmy Shergill deliver war and patriotism with smarts and shrewdness from behind the scenes

Directed by Santosh Singh of Broken but Beautiful fame, Ranneeti on JIO Cinema stars Lara Dutta, Jimmy Shergill, Ashish Vidyarthi, and Ashutosh Rana besides a well-rounded supporting cast.
Ranneeti Balakot and Beyond

MUMBAI: The Indian audience is no stranger to stories on war and terrorism on the small screen, going right back to the days of Fauji, and more recently with the likes of Special Ops, The Family Man, The Freelancer, The Test Case, and others. We've also got our dose of the Pulwama attack and subsequent Balakot air strike albeit a fictionalized but pretty good one with Fighter on the big screen. Taking the fact-based points of the latter and shepherding them into a new dimension of backroom war meeting and strategies, Director Santosh Singh now delivers the smart and shrewd Ranneeti: Balakot and Beyond on JIO Cinema – a welcome new chapter in onscreen war-based stories

The most prudent aspect of Ranneeti is how Singh and his mini-army (no pun intended) of writers focus more on the tension behind the scenes while not jettisoning a few necessary doses of excitement on the battlefront. And, boy, are the tension and excitement both delivered in spades when and where required. It also helps that the whole show is shot with slick visual appeal by cinematographer Tanveer Mir while Singh and editor Unnikrishnan Payoor Parameswaran ensure that the narrative proceeds with a sense of urgency, pivotal to the real-life subject matter.

Of course, one can't discount the relatability and organic nature with which veterans like Jimmy Shergill, Lara Dutta, Ashish Vidyarthi, and Ashutosh Rana imbue their characters with, making tough roles seem like a walk in the park. One also can't discount the imperativeness of a good supporting cast, who, many a time, can make or break the performances of the lead cast. The casting here from top to bottom is right on point.

That's not to say it's all smooth sailing: The 1st episode is a slightly bumpy ride, with all the elements seamlessly falling into place only midway from the 2nd episode onward. And while the remainder of the show is devoid of such bumps, one does get the feeling that the middle section, especially episodes 4, 5, and 6, could've been trimmed a tad. The character arcs of some of the supporting bad guys from across the border also fall into a bit of a caricaturish trap, and it's credit to the actors who don't allow said arcs to distract from their performances.

Nevertheless, this is a tense, urgent, and exciting look at a chapter in recent Indian history while also delivering a new, welcoming chapter in war stories for the Indian audience. The patriotism strikes both our hearts and minds, without ever serving into jingoistic lanes, and that's more that can be said for most war stories either on the Indian small or big screen.

3.5/5 stars

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Submitted by Russel D'silva on Thu, 04/25/2024 - 11:58

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