FRIDAY REVIEW

Mission Kashmir

SOLDIER'S TALE: The film is about a group of commandos fighting militancy in Kashmir; (from left) Biju Menon, Mohanlal, film director Ravi, Jeeva and Shammi Thilakan.  



VIJAY GEORGE

It is action and drama on the sets of `Kirti Chakra.'

The men in black get ready for an encounter. It's the time to take on the militants and a moment's lapse could be fatal. The commandos enter a well-furnished room and in a flash, they pounce upon a miscreant. "Cut it," yells the director, Major (retd.) Ravi, on the location of `Kirti Chakra' in Ottappalam. The film zooms in on a group of commandos fighting militancy in the Kashmir valley. Mohanlal plays the role of Major Mahadevan who leads the troop. The director, who had served as a commando in the area for some years, says that a lot of incidents in the film are autobiographical.

Challenging task

"The National Security Guard commandos are chosen from the army and have a challenging task ahead, where they would often need to act on hunches. Major Mahadevan has penetrated militant groups in Kashmir and befriended locals. Such a plan could cost him dear, as someone with whom he interacts could lead him into a trap," explains the director.According to Ravi, the commandos have a "buddy pair system," where the leader has someone to assist him during an encounter. It's a kind of bonding. Major Mahadevan's buddy is havaldar Jai Kumar. The vibrant young actor from Tamil, Jeeva, comes in as Jai. He says that it was wonderful working with Mohanlal, "who is so modest though he is one of the finest actors in the country.""The film was shot in Kashmir for 27 days. I would like to salute the courage shown by everyone in my unit, from the hero to the spot boy," says the director. Ravi does not want to to categorise `Kirti Chakra' as a war film though, "for the simple reason that wars happen only rarely but the fight against the militants is always there." The film is not just action but it also depicts the emotional turmoil of those who risk their lives to ensure peace for the country. Lakshmi Gopalaswamy plays Mohanlal's wife while Gopika has been cast opposite Jeeva. Mohanlal seems delighted to put on the commando's gear. Ravi had directed `Punarjani', which according to him, was an experimental film and has worked with such directors as Raj Kumar Santoshi, Mani Ratnam and Priyadarshan. He says that it was cinematographer Santosh Sivan and director Shaji N. Karun who gave him the confidence to script `Kirti Chakra'. R.B. Chaudhary is producing `Kirti Chakra', under the banner of Super Good films. The film will also be dubbed in Tamil. Tiru wields the camera for the film. The film will hit the theatres on July 14.