Pippa is the story of Captain Balram Singh Mehta and the role that he and his siblings played in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The film is now streaming on Prime Video.
Captain Balram Singh Mehta, nicknamed Balli, is a capable soldier in the Indian Army, but he lacks discipline. He is rebellious and disobeys his superior’s orders, which lands him in trouble.
Balli’s father died in the war of 1947 when Balli was two years old. His older brother, Ram, is a war hero whose efforts to teach Balli responsibility often cause arguments between them.
In 1971, India has to go to war against Pakistan to liberate the oppressed people of East Pakistan. While Ram is sent to the front, Balli has to learn to be obedient and disciplined before he can go to the battlefront. Their sister, Radha, also aids the country in the war.
The film tells the story of how Balli grew as a person and became a dependable soldier. It is also the story of Ram and Radha’s role in India’s war to liberate Bangladesh as well as Balli’s love for Pippa, the Indian Army’s first amphibious tank that played a crucial part in India’s victory.
Ishaan Khatter’s sincere portrayal of Balli is one of the film’s strengths. Khatter has the charm that makes Balli seem stubborn, rebellious, and smart. Despite his flaws, the character is still likable, as Khatter makes his growth believable.
Although Priyanshu Painyuli, who plays Ram, performs his part well, the script does not give him much scope to showcase his talents. It is only in the end that Painyuli gets to be more than a responsible and strict older brother.
Mrunal Thakur’s character is sincere and fun at the same time, but her performance is just satisfactory, not remarkable. The same can be said about the performance of Soni Razdan, who only exists in the background and never takes center stage.
The film uses animation to give the audience the context of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It manages to make the lesson engaging. It keeps it brief and simple, so the ones who know the context would not lose interest.
When it comes to the depiction of the battlefront, the film does not disappoint. There is a sense of restlessness, danger, and urgency when the enemy attacks and soldiers have to drop everything, especially the tasks that allow them to experience normalcy, and rush to defend themselves.
The film does not shy away from depicting the brutal reality of war. The gut-wrenching deaths and injuries, as well as the sets that appear too real, make the audience uncomfortable, and the film succeeds in showing what makes war so terrifying.
The characters in the film are very human, as the deaths of their comrades do not leave them unaffected. The loss of their commander shocks them, and it takes effort on their part to continue fighting.
There are times when the performances by actors playing bit parts in the film make the atrocities depicted onscreen unconvincing. Ram being tortured by an overdramatic enemy or students getting killed by expressionless soldiers does not have the desired effect.
The film tries to give a message about seeing refugees as human beings. However, the message seems forced and unnecessary, as it does not fit in with the narrative.
The film tells the stories of three siblings playing three different roles in the war. The writing is not able to incorporate all three stories seamlessly, and the result is a scattered plot that lacks clarity.
The lack of cohesiveness also takes the excitement out of the plot. The film is engaging, but it is not as stirring as it could have been, and a war film that is not exciting cannot be satisfying.
Pippa could have been a better war film with good writing. While it is not a bad film, it has its fair share of flaws. That said, it still manages to keep the audience invested.
Director: Raja Krishna Menon
Date Created: 2023-11-10 15:49
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