Fighter; Romancing the skies

Fighter: Romancing the Skies

Fighter does what the ubiquitous Armed Forces advertisement intends to do, with its famous tagline, “Touch the Sky with Glory. It inspires young boys and girls to consider taking up a career in the Indian Air Force and instils a deep sense of respect in every Indian for the Indian Air Force pilots and commanders who serve in the Air Force with top-notch skills and nerves of steel.  

This magnificent movie reveals the life-threatening challenges that Indian Airforce officers need to overcome to protect the Indian airspace. The IndianAir Force plays a crucial role in the defines of India and boasts of some of the world\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s best fighter planes today. For me, this movie was special as my grandfather was a Colonel in the Indian Army and ADC to the late Pandit Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister and my father was a Wg Cdr in the IndianAirforce. They both served their country for more than 25 years and as a child, I have been regaled with numerous stories of the Indo China war and Indo Pak war, stories of grit, valour and determination. I often wondered, why Hindi movies rarely depicted the challenging but charming life of armed forces personnel except for a handful like Border, Pukaar, Uri.  Well, that is the gap, the recent magnum opus by Siddarth Annand aims to bridge with the country’s first aerial action thriller.

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The movie is not just a cinematic masterpiece but a salute to the valiant fighter pilots and Indian Air Force Officers who are protecting the country and the true hero of this magnum opus, not the lead but Sukhoi SU 30 and the anti-hero is F 16.   As per the 2022 report, the IAF was ranked third strongest globally based on aspects like attack power, modernisation and defence capacity. Bharatiya Vayu Sena\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’ or the IAF does not only protect us from threats but also safeguards the territory and national interests and offers air support to the Indian Army on the war field as well as strategic and tactical airlift and evacuation capabilities. The film was released strategically on Republic Day and depicts a visually compelling picture of the world of fighter pilots and their mean machines. 

The plot is fairly simple, it is the meticulous execution that stands out. A highly skilled team of Indian Air Force aviators, Shamsher Pathania. Patty (Hrithik Roshan), Minni Rathore / Minni (Deepika Padukone), Sartaj Gill (Karan Singh Grover), and Rakesh Jai Singh. / Rocky (Anil Kapoor), their Commanding Officer come together after terrorists bomb a CRPF convoy killing zones of jawans — a recreation of the 2019 suicide attack in Pulwama. As a response, India destroys a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp, on Pakistani soil, with Patty and Sartaj backing up the primary jets. They succeed but get trapped across the Line of Control (LOC) with far reaching and heart-breaking consequences. After, many twists and turns, the special team infiltrates the enemy territory to rescue one of their teammates and after exhilarating action and mind-blowing aerial combat scenes overcomes the antagonist. DNEG, the international VFX house behind Dune and multiple Bond movies, has managed the special effects and the team must take a bow as the movie has set a new benchmark in technical excellence.

Coming back to the actors, the hero, Hrithik Roshan as Squadron Leader Shamsher Pathania is par excellence. The effort he puts into his characters is admirable and the process is very meticulous, truly an award-winning performance of his career.

The camera loves him, after all what not to love from that jawline to those dreamy hazel eyes and that heart-warmingly innocent “please “that would melt any woman’s l heart.

The verdict is, Hrithik Roshan at 50 is even better Hrithik at 25, the man gets better with age, India’s answer to Tom Cruise, Pierce Brosnan and the likes. As a side note, just watching him in uniform and watching him groove is worth the ticket cost. Hrithikis flawless, in the action sequences and the emotional scenes, of course, his chiselled jawline and dashboard abs are a bonus. Watching him in uniform makes going to the cinemas worth every penny. Deepika Padukone adds depth and emotion to the film, she is well suited for her role as a strong female character. Their on-screen chemistry is palpable and hope more filmmakers should cast them together infact, all the other actors have done a fine job, the quiet maturity and restraint of Anil Kapoor, the goofy Karan Grover, the silent Akshay Oberoi, the grieving Sanjeeda Sheikh, all have done justice to their roles.  Ashutosh Rana in a cameo of a rigid father makes an indelible impact in just one scene that adds so many emotions to the narrative. 

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. All the characters are well written and while watching them, one feels, like we know them or know people like them. The character development is steady and consistent for most. Every character is nuanced and has depth, and the audience will empathise with their struggles and triumphs. The protagonist\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s story is particularly compelling, as the audience witnesses not only physical combat but also the internal conflicts, and dark moments that shape his individuality. Rishabh Sawhney as the antagonist did a fine job however his character was starkly underdeveloped, which left one wondering, did the writer forget to give him a solid backstory.

The movie raises the bar for visual aesthetics, nuanced storytelling and layered characterization. Fighter has all the elements to keep the audience enthralled and is an engaging watch. The nail-biting action and depth of emotions, make it, unlike the mindless, ear-deafening, action thrillers that are doing the rounds. This offers a technically brilliant experience, camera angles by Satchith Paulose are phenomenal and the fighter jet scenes are la Hollywood, Indian response to the Top Gun Franchise. Music by Vishal Shekhar is peppy and slick choreography is another high point. Hrithik’s flawless moves have, of course, spawned a million reels off the hook steps, Though, the songs do sound familiar, like, we have heard them before. May be, time to explore new tunes. 

 Breathtakingly stunning locations, adrenalin-pumping action, world-class VFX, excellent editing & powerful performances make up for a predictable plot. Overall, a slick action-packed aerial combat thriller with a good storyline, which will tug at your heartstrings. However, it is not just about chills and thrills, but the movie is a milestone for Indian cinema as it elevates Indian cinema to the global stage in the thriller action genre.

Fighter is a tribute to the Armed Forces though may be a glossy one, but then that’s what creative freedom is all about. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush with the perfect blend of emotions, this is a must watch in the theatres, and in 3D!

Jai Hind

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About the Author

Ruchiraa Sharma

Ruchiraa Sharma is a seasoned media professional and communications specialist with more than fifteen years of experience across the entire gamut of media & content creation. A broadcast journalist and television producer, she specializes in read more...

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