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  • Pippa movie review: Ishaan Khatter-starrer is a frustrating watch despite its sincerity | Movie-review News

Pippa movie review: Ishaan Khatter-starrer is a frustrating watch despite its sincerity | Movie-review News

Balram Singh Mehta (Ishaan Khatter) is the kind of younger sibling who is spoilt, brash, insolent. He is also an Army brat, with both his dear departed father and disciplinarian older brother Ram (Priyanshu Painyuli) being celebrated war heroes. ‘Pippa’, directed by Raja Krishna Menon, is set against the 1971 conflict in which India’s military intervention became the decisive factor in the formation of a free Bangladesh.

Based on ‘The Burning Chaffees’, written by the real-life Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, ‘Pippa’ is the kind of frustrating watch where you are in no doubt about the sincerity of purpose but also where you are unable to suspend disbelief. Behind the frenetic action sequences where brave soldiers are doing what soldiers do — forging ahead in the face of lethal enemy fire — we can almost sense the camera-and-crew, just out of the line of our vision.

The film works a tad better as a coming-of-age story of our headstrong hero Balram, whose designated arc is to learn how to tamp down his natural rebellious instincts, and discover the real man within. In this aspect, the boyish Ishaan Khattar is much more believable than when he is on the field, barking orders, keeping his unit together in the face of the mounting body count, and embarking upon daring rescue missions.

The writing is choppy. In one instance we see Balram being dressed down by a senior; and in the next, he is professing his love for Pippa (all over again ; we’ve already heard this litany when the film opens) for PT-76, the first Indian amphibian tank, which played a major role in the Indian win. Being the kind of guy who just has to disobey orders, Balram takes off with the tank for a watery joyride while on exercise. His explanation — ‘Was doing a stress test, sir’ — cuts no ice with his enraged superior officer, of course; we are meant to be impressed by his impish dare-devilry which turns into exemplary valour on the front.

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A good war film takes you up close to the sights and smells of battle, to the point where you flinch when bullets hit bodies, and want the bloodshed to end just as much as the characters on screen do. Here, Ram’s being captured and tortured by a fellow (Inaamulhaq) meant to exude menace, is more caricature than anything else, despite Painyuli being the sort of actor you want to watch more of. Mrunal Thakur, as the sister who works on cracking codes in a top-secret organisation, comes off generic, and Soni Razdan is wasted.

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Hard to believe that this film is from the same director who pulled off the crackling ‘Airlift.

Pippa movie cast: Ishaan Khatter, Mrunal Thakur, Priyanshu Painyuli, Chandrachur Rai, Soni Razdan, Vivek Muhsran, Inaamulhaq
Pippa movie director: Raja Krishna Menon
Pippa movie rating: 2 stars

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