An Honest Effort...
Ananth Narayan Mahadevan's 'Red Alert: The War Within' is an honest
effort, that has some engaging moments, and a stellar performance by
Sunil Shetty. However, the writing in the second hour lacks the bite.
'Red Alert: The War Within' tells the story of a common man caught in a
movement. The Common Man struggles to fight with the Naxalites and the
Police. It's a journey that is filled with bloodshed and cruelty, but
the commoner still survives it.
Ananth Narayan Mahadevan has made an honest film in all respects. 'Red
Alert: The War Within' is arguably his finest film as a storyteller.
His work truly deserves brownie points. Screenplay by Aruna Raje, is
super in the first hour, but lacks the bite post-interval. Also, the
culmination doesn't leave any impact. How one wishes if these minuses
could've been worked on!
Performance Wise: Sunil Shetty is the life of the show. The once-known
bad actor, delivers an amazing performance from start to end. He gets
into the skin of the character. This truly ranks amongst the finest
performances of recent times. Vinod Khanna is excellent in a brief
role, while Seema Biswas shines in a strong supporting role. Sameera
Reddy is alright. Ashish Vidyarthi, Makrand Deshpande, Bhagyashree,
Gulshan Grover & Ayesha Dharker are satisfactory. Nasseruddin Shah hams
in a tiny role.
On the whole, 'Red Alert: The War Within' surely deserves a watch for
the sheer honesty it's been made with, and also for the performances it
packs in, especially by it's leading man..
Hunger ! Injustice ! And Bullet !
Last month, we saw Raavan by Mani Ratnam in which the character in the
title role was (perhaps) a naxlite. However that movie was neither
realistic nor very impressive. The last good movie upon this ever
burning issue of rural India was Lal Salaam (2002) starring Nandita Das
and Sharad Kapoor. Now after eight long years, a movie has come upon
this topic which is truly a movie with a soul. This highly admirable
movie is miles ahead of the over-hyped hollow movies like Raajneeti and
The story revolves around a poor tiffin-supplier in rural Andhra
Pradesh, Narsimha (Suneel Shetty) who just wants to earn some
additional bucks to support his family consisting of his wife Uma
(Bhagyashree) and two children. However destiny drags him into the
naxlite group led by Velu Anna (Aashish Vidyarthi), the mastermind
behind the group being Krishnaraj (Vinod Khanna). Despite playing an
active role in their adventures, he is never with them by heart. Being
always concerned for the welfare of not only his own family but also
hundreds of innocents being killed, he ultimately succeeds in redeeming
himself of the shackles of the naxlite activities but not without the
wounds leaving permanent scars on his tender and sensitive heart.
Director Anant Mahadevan has given us many third class movies during
the past few years. Now, after a long wait, he has come up with an
outstanding movie. It is said that behind every successful man, there
is a woman. The woman behind this success of his is Aruna Raje,
inarguably one of the most talented lady directors of Indian cinema.
She has written a highly sensitive and utterly realistic script which
Anant has ably directed. The grip of the narrative upon the viewer is
nowhere loosened. The viewer just keeps on watching for around two
hours, holding his breath. This movie is nothing less than an edge of
the seat thriller.
The narrator has presented the side of both the conflicting groups,
that is, the government and the naxlites, quite honestly, impartially
and frankly. He has presented a very pertinent question though the
hunger and the injustice lead the poor villagers to take the path of
bullet and they are correct in their own right, yet what's the use of
winning the battles and losing the war. Yes, there is difference
between terrorism and revolution but should this revolution be allowed
to last for decades and centuries without any hope of the ultimate
victory ? The first pre-requisite of a worthwhile and well-justified
revolution is the clear-cut aim behind it. When the aim itself is not
clear, just running a parallel government type organization in the name
of revolution is nothing but deceiving yourself and others who have
faith in you.
The narrator has exposed the hypocrisy of the self-acclaimed
revolutionary leaders too, always talking big and preaching ideals but
totally indifferent, selfish and inhuman when dealing with the
individuals working for them. The attitude of Aashish Vidyarthi towards
Suneel Shetty reflects the huge difference between what these so-called
revolutionary leaders publicise as their deeds and what they actually
Like Priyamani was shown as raped by the policemen in the police
station in Raavan, Sameera Reddy has been shown as raped by the same
uniformed people in the same venue in this movie. And this is the
bitter truth of rural (even urban) India which again forces me to think
why the Indian police stations are rape stations ? What is this strange
trait of the police or military uniform which arouses the beast in the
wearing male, turning him into the predator, ever ready to pounce upon
its poor prey, that is, the female ? Any answers ? Many scenes of this
movie are reminiscent of Maachis (1996), the controversial movie of
Gulzar. I had a very strong feeling of deja vu when I saw one of the
main characters of Maachis, Suneel Sinha in a similar role and even
with the ditto get-up in this movie.
The performances are all up to the mark though the screenplay has not
done justice to certain actors like Nasiruddin Shah, Gulshan Grover and
Bhagyashree.Whatever might have been theopinion of the viewers (and
reviewers) about Suneel Shetty, I have always kept him in high esteem
as an actor since J.P. Dutta's Border (1997). This is his career best
performance and he deserves an award.He is so natural that throughout
the movie I was feeling as I were him, the protagonist, running for his
life and concerned every moment for the welfare of his wife and
children and sensitive towards the life and well-being of every
innocent, willingly or unwillingly involved in this avoidable havoc.
Among others, I specially mention Sameera Reddy who has demonstrated
that she can act brilliantly when handled by an able director in a
The background score, the cinematography, the editing and other
relevant aspects are all up to the standards. The story (based upon a
true story) has been picturized in the backdrop of Andhra Pradesh and
the writer-director duo have exasperated the contemporary Andhrite
environment in the movie quite efficiently.
This movie is just superb and gives a priceless message in the end in
the words of Omar Bin Laden (given by him to his father, Osama Bin
Laden) - find another way (other than violence). It must be existing.
The only thing you need is to admit its existence and then look for it..