War comedies or spoofs/satirical takes on the feud between two warring nations are a commonality in the West. In fact, it won't be erroneous to state that the concept is well-liked and accepted there. In India, however, the anti-Pakistan sentiment on varied occasions has prompted film-makers to make films that make a scathing attack on the neighbour, besides reflecting patriotism and jingoism, to fuel the sentiment. WAR CHHOD NA YAAR is a war comedy, a first in its genre here.
It's a challenge to incorporate humor in a movie that looks at the sensitive relations between India and Pakistan. Also to be kept in mind is the fact that a genre that has never been introduced to spectators of Hindi films comes with its share of risks. It's a big gamble, actually. But there's always a first time, right? The question is, does director Faraz Haider pull it off?
WAR CHHOD NA YAAR has a unique concept. It not only projects the thorny issue in light vein, but also makes a comical comment on the politicians of both sides as well as the Chinese and American interference. There's a lot of tongue in cheek humor and over the top amusement to drive home a message. Clearly, the director intends to say a big 'No' to warfare or hostility, but while the intentions are right and most honorable, what comes across on screen looks like a half-hearted, amateurish attempt.
WAR CHHOD NA YAAR highlights the relationship between Indian and Pakistani soldiers. The story takes a turn when war breaks out. So what do the soldiers on both the sides do? Can they stop the war? Or do they indulge in warfare?
Faraz Haider portrays the humane and compassionate side of the soldiers, besides stressing on the sacrifices they make so that the nation stays protected. Of course, Faraz takes cinematic liberties while highlighting the issue, especially while portraying the banter between the soldiers [the antakshri is thoroughly enjoyable]. While the first half portrays the friendship between soldiers of India and Pakistan, with some wonderful moments that engage you, the post-interval portions depict a precarious situation: What happens when war breaks out and the soldiers are pitted against each other? It's in this half that the film falters.
The director broaches pertinent topics that we, the commoners, often discuss and communicate during the crisis. At the same time, the film talks of peace and harmony and how the two nations, which have so many facets in common and have fought several wars in the past, need to iron out the issues more responsibly, instead of indulging in unnecessary bloodshed and carnage. It's a constructive approach, no doubt, hitting the nerve that has been a cause for concern over the decades. But the manner in which the screenplay unfolds is not convincing. Is it so easy to call off a war? Can soldiers take a call? Even the culmination, which sends out a clear message of no warfare, is tackily penned and narrated. Besides, why this need to pull the neighbour down so badly? Having said that, I wish to add that a couple of sequences do bring a smile on your face, but they are few and far between.
The soundtrack is situational and frankly, the songs could've been been best avoided in a film like this. Cinematography -- the landscape of Rajasthan -- is eye-catching, although the night shots get too pitch-dark on screen.
Sharman Joshi and Jaaved Jaaferi are a delight to watch on screen. Sharman proves that he's one of the most sincere performers around, while Jaaved proves that he's truly a versatile actor. Soha Ali Khan enacts the part of a journo for the second time [after MUMBAI MERI JAAN], portraying her part credibly. Dalip Tahil gets to portray multiple roles and does an impressive job. Sanjay Mishra is funny at times. Mukul Dev is wasted. Manoj Pahwa is entertaining.
On the whole, WAR CHHOD NA YAAR is an interesting idea, coupled with noble intentions, but is treated amateurishly.