REVISION: About 19 years ago, Ahmedabad, along with the rest of the country, witnessed a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of some 30 people and injured more than 80. After the Gujarat riots in 2002, the attack on the temple on September 24 of the same year left people in shock.
In exchange for the release of one of his gang members, Bilal Naikoo (Mir Sarwar), a group of four terrorists attacked Krishna Dham Mandir (the name changed from Akashardham Mandir). Terrorists stormed the temple in this planned attack, which was monitored from Pakistan, killing many innocent people and holding some of them hostage. Together with the Ahmedabad police, the National Security Guards (NSG) took command of the situation.
Inspired by many real life stories, ‘State of Siege: Temple Attack’ celebrates the courage of men in uniform. The film attempts to provide a detailed description of what happened during the operation and how NSG managed to save several lives. Director Ken Ghosh has taken some creative liberties by portraying the unfortunate events of that historic day in his fictional drama to turn it into an attractive watch. However, the script (by William Borthwick and Simon Fantauzzo) is layered and to the point, which does not over-dramatize the terrorist attacks. It mainly focuses on the characters without portraying them as heroes, even though they are in real life. This drama will probably remind you of all the movies and shows about terrorist attacks, but it will undoubtedly disappoint some viewers due to the excessive fiction of such tragic events. In general, it only scratches the surface of the problem, without going further or revealing numerous internal aspects that are already hidden from the public.
Tejal Pramod Shetye’s cinematography enhanced the tone of the story, especially the scenes filmed in the picturesque places of Manali, which is fascinating. Even the action-packed sequences between the NSG commandos and the terrorists are well choreographed by Mandhar Verma and Rinku Bacchan.
The film begins in Kupwara, J&K, in 2001. The daughter of a minister has been kidnapped by terrorists. And an operation to rescue her is carried out by NSG commandos led by Major Hanut Singh (Akshaye Khanna) and Captain Bibek (Akshay Oberoi). Some soldiers, including Hanut, are injured during the mission and Captain Bibek is killed. Hanut suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of this occurrence. However, when duty draws attention, one must put aside his weaker side and focus on being physically strong and ready for the next operation. Along with Captain Rohit Bagga (Vivek Dahiya), Hanut is enlisted to command the temple attack expedition.
All the actors perform satisfactory performances, delivering exactly what is expected of them. Parvin Dabas plays Colonel Nagar, the commanding officer of the NSG who has done his role justice. Major Hanut Singh, played by Akshaye Khanna, and his team, which includes Vivek Dahiya as Captain Rohit Bagga and Gautam Rode as Major Samar Chauhan, arrive in Ahmedabad to take over the terrorist attack. In the past, viewers have seen Khanna in uniform in movies like ‘Border’, ‘LOC Kargil’ and her portrayal of Hanut Singh is not exceptional. These actors in uniform are not seen in exaggerated combat situations, which makes their portrayal of an army officer more realistic. As a guest appearance, Sameer Soni as CM Manish Choksi and Akshay Oberoi as Captain Bibek have shocking roles.
All the actors of the terrorist gang: their leader Abhimanyu Singh as Abu Hamza, his right hand Bilal Naikoo (played by Mir Sarwar) and the other four terrorists (Abhilash Chaudhary as Iqbal, Dhanveer Singh as Hanif, Mridul Das as Farooq and Mihir Ahuja like Omar): Has a strong understanding of the local Pakistani-Punjabi accent.
After Abhimanyu Singh’s ‘State of Siege: 11/26’, based on the Mumbai attacks, this 112-minute combat drama is a fitting tribute to our NSG soldiers. This dramatized retelling may bring up unpleasant memories for some, but it is worth watching.