1971: Beyond Borders (2017) Malayalam Movie Review by Veeyen


The gripes about the follies and futility of war definitely serve a purpose, but ‘1971; Beyond Borders’ sees the classic instance of too much overstating a cause messing up your case altogether.  This is also the reason why the film emerges as generic, and the fascinating and inspirational real story on which the film is based gets watered down on screen.


It’s in Georgia that Major Ravi initiates the action of his latest film ‘1971; Beyond Borders’ where Major Mahadevan (Mohanlal) rescues a Pak soldier in a UN operation. Far away from Georgia, his dad,  Major Sahadevan (Mohanlal again), reminiscences those days at the warfront back in 1971, and how every year since he has paid respect to the two gallant soldiers who had lost their lives fighting for their countries – Lieutenant Chinmay (Allu Sirish)of the Indian Army and Lieutenant Raja (Arunoday Singh) of the Pak Army.

It’s been almost eleven years since ‘Keerthi Chakra’ was released, and in ‘1971; Beyond Borders’ Major Ravi seems to have retraced his steps and gone back even further when it comes to his directorial skills. The film carries a redundant tenor all over it, and the corny ideological tirade that it carries on its back turns out to be the foremost reason for its ruin.

The oodles of patriotism that ‘1971; Beyond Borders’ dishes up looks and sounds better on paper, since there are hardly any hair raising moments in the film that would enliven the patriot in you. On second thoughts, there is indeed one such moment; the one that delivers the interval punch, where a spirited Major Sahadevan blows up on the face of an Intelligence officer and exhorts his superior officer to give them orders to march to the battle field.

The gripes about the follies and futility of war definitely serve a purpose, but ‘1971; Beyond Borders’ sees the classic instance of too much overstating a cause messing up your case altogether.  This is also the reason why the film emerges as generic, and the fascinating and inspirational real story on which the film is based gets watered down on screen.

This particular scene comes at the fag end of an hour, and is preceded by a bulky mound of clichés that threaten to render any war movie as archaic. These are instances that one would immediately associate with any war film, and precisely the exact reason as to why Major Ravi’s recent cinematic endeavours had failed to strike a chord with the audience. And in ‘1971; Beyond Borders’, the fatal flaws are replicated yet again.

The final thirty minutes of the film involve massive flickerings on screen that one assumes to be rampant firing that is going on or perhaps the dropping of a grenade here or there.  The point is, it’s more of a blackout, and there is very little that is actually visible on screen apart from shadowy figures that move about and the occasional lighting up accompanied by loud blasts.

Despite the pretext that the action takes place at night, the entire lengthy sequence which is also supposedly the highlight of the film, looks all fogged up and dark with hardly anything discernible.  Equally unacceptable are the graphics that look obsolete; which make the war sequences bear a strong resemblance to those video games of the 90’s.

‘1971; Beyond Borders’ has botched up costumes real bad as well, and there seems to be no special effort to bring in some genuineness in costume design. Ditto for the language as well, and it jolts you out of your senses when you hear a terrified soldier murmuring ‘Pani Kitti’ way back in 1971, when ‘Pani Kitti’ merely meant  ‘grabbing a job’.

The gallant sparkle in his eye notwithstanding, Mohanlal looks worn out as Major Sahadevan and despite the twirl in the moustache appears dispirited. A highly controlled performance from Arunoday Singh is the surprise packet of the film. The actor seems to have come a real long way since ‘Jism 2’ and easily has the best scenes in ‘1971; Beyond Borders’. Allu Sirish and his love angle turn out to be more of a millstone in the film than anything else.

‘1971; Beyond Borders’ fails to strike you as an epic war tale, offering almost one-dimensional depictions of its lead characters. With a script that is replete with chestnuts, it’s a plodding war film that renders a rousing real story, facile.


Verdict: Disappointing


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