<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Mrityunjay Devvrat. Starring Indraneil Sengupta, Raima Sen, Pavan Malhotra, Riddhi Sen, Tillotama Shome, Rucha Inamdar, Farooque Shaikh, Joy Sengupta, Victor Bannerjee
There are some films made purely for their significance in history, to show us how unkind mankind can truly be when given great power but no responsibility. This is one of those films.
Children of War is set during the genocide in Bangladesh by Pakistan in 1971. It is a tale of the atrocities committed on the people of Bangladesh and their valiant struggle to overthrow their cruel rulers and let the world know of their reign of terror by utilising both the gun and the pen.
The film weaves together a couple of plots and characters as they journey from oppression to martyrdom or freedom, in some case both being the same thing. There’s a young boy (Riddhi Sen) and his sister (Rucha Inamdar) who are the only survivors of a massacre in their village who join an exodus of people to flee to safety. Then there’s a journalist called Aamir (Indraneil Sengupta) and his wife Fida (Raima Sen) who are awakened in the middle of the night by the ruthless Pakistani army commander Malik (Pavan Malhotra) since Aamir has been writing about what was happening in Bangladesh. Malik rapes and abducts Fida who Aamir thinks is dead. He then joins a band of freedom fighters lead by Farooque Shaikh’s character and his feisty female lieutenant (Tillotama Shome).
Children of War is filled with scenes of violence, blood and rape. It’s gruesome and gritty and certainly not a watch for the faint of heart or if you’re already depressed. I watched the film on DVD over three days since I couldn’t take more than 45 minutes at a stretch. There’s no entertainment value and nothing here that lifts your spirits. Sadly, that’s what is missing. While the struggles are depicted there’s no inspiration just desperation and dejection. The scenes in the detention camp with Malik urinating on prisoners’ faces and repeatedly raping and killing the women there are torturous to watch.
The film is nicely crafted and has some beautiful visuals but it also has some irritating back and forth with scenes of a protest demonstration that just jar with the rest of the movie. The actors perform wonderfully with special mentions for Raima Sen and Pavan Malhotra.
This is a film you’d watch on the big screen and then buy the DVD if you were connected to the subject matter or it interested you to learn how horrible inhumane humanity can be. We have lots of examples.
There are just some trailers of the film, which is a shame.
DVD Courtesy Sony DADC