Director Irfan Kamal weaves a nationalistic story that is a genuine ode to selflessness of armed forces
When you have a story involving army men and the lives surrounding them, you immediately think of adrenaline rushing in your veins with pride and probable jingoism that is showered all across. This is exactly where Satellite Shankar takes a different route. And all for the good. You are charmed. You are amused. And when you leave the theaters, you are happy that you bought tickets to this one film, which might not have become popular, but is definitely worth the watch.
A happu go lucky army officer Satellite Shankar (Sooraj Pancholi) has a skill of keeping everyone around him happy, even if it takes weaving stories and transporting people imaginatively. After an injury, he is granted a 8 days leave during which he wants to go home lying on the farthest corner of the country. With his immensely good heart at work, always, can he make it to his home and back to his work abiding by his sainik shapath?
Story by Kamal and Vishal Vijay Kumar paints the armed forces personnel in a humane and heart-to-heart light. Right in the entire first sequence, you are told how common citizens don’t understand the helplessness of army officers but they are still willing to give it all up. This is a film where you take pride in your soldiers, albeit in a very different shade. It is this quality- pride- that is present in almost all army films, but it is here that the angle of execution makes you root for the narrative.
There are several situations thrown at Satellite Shankar where he could have just minded his own business. But that’s how wonderful Shankar is. He is always there to lend a helping hand and he does it with grace. What is intelligent of the makers is that all what he does is not always heroic (in terms alpha male image and so on). These are simple aids. Making a feeble aged couple reach their train coach or making a mother smile by mimicking her son are just moments of gold that stay with you.
There are also references like army men get ration and booze free and it is upto the commoners who actually toil. But just when this is told, you are also swept off your feet right in the next shot by makers turning the sides.
While the first half is about him reaching his home, the second half deals with how he can actually make to his base on time. It is here that Indians help him in his effort through planned execution on social media.
Having said all of this, the film may also come across as too unrealistic and overly ambitious to a segment of audience. The way problems are crafted in his life may also seem deliberately rigged. The plausibility of the plot may also face constant questions wherein you also feel the stakes for the protagonist should have been higher, to make it more believable.
The film belongs to Sooraj Pancholi in its length and breadth. On one hand, it’s the role that demands the lead to be right up there. And also Sooraj exudes tremendous amount of warmth. You fall in love with him, even in his unrealistic will and determination. In fact after this film, you would want to see him more. He is brilliantly fantastic.
Palomi Ghosh plays a video blogger and contributes significantly to the plot. So does Megha Akash who not only looks pretty, but delivers right sense of sincerity in the plot. Kudos to writers for making the characters of these ladies so interesting to watch. Brings in depth in the film.
The film also has a whole set of supporting actors who in their limited screen time do the needful.
Songs enhance the soul of the film. All in the background, the songs convey the essence rightly. Background score by Sandeep Shirodkar is also very good, lifting your senses at correct points. Makes you connect easily.
Watch the trailer here:
Cinematography by Jitan Harmeet Singh is good covering a wide range of canvas. You do feel that somewhere the visual quality is compromised. Production design is smartly executed, all across to a decent level. But here also, the film at some moments lacks visual realism.
Editing by Chandan Arora is straight but effective. There are no line jumps in the film. The structure conveys what is intention ed satisfactorily.
It is no doubt an ambitious film. But also a one of its kind in Bollywood. This must be watched for its brave effort, which touches your heart and also wrenches you for all the right in the world. As they say, if you want to tell a soldier you respect him/her, be a citizen worth fighting for. That’s all the film says.