The Pippa movie is based on the true story of the 1971 war. With these bold tales from India’s war history, nowadays, we are being exposed to India and Bangladesh’s recent past.
This 1971 war movie – Pippa is based on the book titled ‘The Burning Chaffees: A Soldier’s First-Hand Account of the 1971 War’ written by Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta. The details of the said book are shared below in the spoilers below. Not so long ago, we reviewed the Khufiya movie, the part of its tale was set in Bangladesh. Of late, it seems that Indian filmmakers are turning their attention towards the eastern part of India.
Synopsis [official summary] of the Pippa (2023) movie
It tells the story of Captain Balram Singh Mehta (Ishaan Khattar) of India’s 45 Cavalry regiment who, along with his sibling Major Ram Mehta (Priyanshu Painyuli), fought on the eastern front during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. Named after the Russian amphibious war tank “PT-76”, which floats on water like an empty ‘pippa’ (tin) of ghee, the film traces Mehta’s coming-of-age as he steps up to prove himself in a war to liberate Bangladesh.
Spoiler-free review of the Pippa (2023) movie
There are three distinct and parallel storylines in this war movie. Thereby, by using these three characters, the Pippa film narrates a tale about Third India–Pakistan War of 1971.
#1 – Major Ram Mehta (Priyanshu Painyuli) as the eldest son
Actor Priyanshu Painyuli plays the serious and responsible son of a proud military family. With his character, we also get to learn about the Mukti Bahini Sena of Bangladesh. This local Bangladesh (East Pakistan) sena was actively assisted by the Indian Armed forces to fight for liberation and independence from Pakistan (West Pakistan) in the 1970s.
#2 – Captain Balram Singh Mehta (Ishaan Khattar) as the younger son
Actor Ishaan Khattar plays the central character of the Captain Balram. He is the younger brother of Major Ram. In the initial part, they depicted him as an immature and rebellious character. However, as the film progresses, he matures into a capable leader. As we see him grow from a rule-breaking army man to emerge as a war hero. His character arc is good.
#3 – Mrunal Thakur (Radha Mehta) is the only daughter
Actress Mrunal Thakur is the youngest of the Mehta siblings. She is the only sister, who was still studying in college in the 1970s wartime. But then India’s war efforts needed her.
#4 – PT-76 tank from the Soviet Union
Lastly, the PT-76 tank from the Soviet Union (now Russia) played an important role in India’s win. These amphibious light tanks gave a strategic advantage to the Indian Army.
About its key actors, songs and the conclusion
This war story primarily revolves around these key characters played by – Ishaan Khattar (Captain Balram Singh Mehta), Mrunal Thakur (Radha Mehta), Priyanshu Painyuli (Major Ram Mehta), and Soni Razdan (Maati – Mrs Mehta). And all of them have a done decent job in it. They have shot all the military action sequences in a realistic manner. We loved the amphibious quality of the Pippa tanks. Also, its cinematography has done well to vividly portray the plight of Bangladeshi refugees caught in the midst of a war.
Also, please note that no Hindi film is complete without its usual song and dance number, so even in this war movie, we get to see an energetic “Main Parwaana” dance song performed by Ishaan Khattar. Perhaps, it was an ode to that 1970s era, dominated by Shammi Kapoor. Then there is an ongoing controversy about the ‘Karar Oi Louho Kopat’ song by revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, the details of the same we have shared below.
Many defence analysts have said that the 1971 Indo-Pak war was one of the greatest victories of the millennia by an Army of any nation.
And the Pippa film certainly depicts a small slice of that glorious chapter of India’s military history. All in all, it is a good war movie to watch. It is neither too jingoistic nor too loud in its depiction of the war. Thankfully, it is not the top approach. It adopts a subtle approach. For all of these reasons stated above, we like this Pippa movie.
Rating of this 2023 movie about the India-Pakistan 1971 war
|FM’s short comments||This war movie took us back in time to the 1970s India when the world was so different. The young students of Delhi University used to raise their voices against injustice and hold demonstrations to uphold democratic values. PM Indira and Indian armed forces created a new nation – Bangladesh, neutralizing the military threats from Pakistan and the USA. We liked this piece of glorious history from India depicted in the Pippa film.|
Spoilers alert of this 2023 movie about the India-Pakistan 1971 war
About ‘The Burning Chaffees: A Soldier’s First-Hand Account of the 1971 War’ book
About the historical backdrop of the 1971 war
In 1971, India waged a momentous war against Pakistan. But before the all-out war, an even more significant tank battle was fought on 21 November 1971 by the C Squadron 45 Cavalry, which demolished the Pakistani General A.A.K. Niazi’s plans of victory and set the stage for the utter routing of the Pakistani Army.
Equipped with the amphibious PT-76 tanks, the Indian Army’s C Squadron 45 Cavalry was unleashed to swim across the River Kabodak, near the Boyra salient (now in Bangladesh), to counter the threat from East Pakistan. On 21 November 1971, the two warring armies clashed in a tank versus tank battle at Garibpur.
In one fell swoop, Pakistan’s 3 (Independent) Armoured Squadron, consisting of fourteen American M-24 Chaffee tanks, was completely destroyed and two of its infantry battalions were badly mauled. This was followed by the shooting down of three Sabre F-86 jets for the loss of two PT-76 tanks on the Indian side.
Thus, the biggest attack planned by General A.A.K. Niazi to teach the Indians and the Mukti Bahini a lesson had gone up in smoke. This battle was a victory and a decisive one at that. It was a trumpet call to the rest of the world of India’s intent to stand up for human liberty and dignity in this war of liberation.
When Pakistan declared the 1971 war
On 3 December 1971, Pakistan declared war. The rest is history.
The Burning Chaffees is a thrilling account of the pivotal battle of 21 November.
Controversy: ‘Karar Oi Louho Kopat’ song by revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam
What is this Bengali song controversy?
In the Pippa movie, its filmmakers have used Kazi Nazrul Islam’s lyrics (Karar Oi Louho Kopat) but with a tune composed by Musician A.R. Rehman, which is distinct from Nazrul’s original version. This kind of tinkering with the iconic Bengali song has offended many people in the Bengali community.
We have seen in the past too, that Bengali folks do not wish to hear alterations, improvisations or new versions of either the Nazrulgeeti or the Rabindrasangeet. Many of them have a very strong emotional attachment to their historical music, which is seen as part of Bengal’s cherished cultural heritage and identity.
What did the filmmakers say about this controversy?
“…rendition of the song is a sincere artistic interpretation, embarked upon only after securing the necessary adaptation rights from the estate of the Late Mr Kazi Nazrul Islam…”Team Pippa
Thus addressing this controversy, the filmmakers of Pippa movie have released the above-mentioned statement on Twitter/X.
The links to both versions of the said song are shared below.
- Karar Oi Louho Kopat | original version – YouTube link.
- Karar Oi Louho Kapat | A R Rehman version – YouTube link.
Poster of the Pippa (2023) movie
Key details of this 2023 movie about the India-Pakistan 1971 war
|Genre||Action, Drama, History, War|
|Original language||Hindi (a little bit of Bengali, Urdu, and other languages of India)|
|Duration||2 hours 19 minutes|
|Writers||Balram Singh Mehta, Raja Menon, Tanmay Mohan & Ravinder Randhawa|
|Cast||Ishaan Khattar (Captain Balram Singh Mehta), Mrunal Thakur (Radha Mehta), Priyanshu Painyuli (Major Ram Mehta), Soni Razdan (Maati), Chandrachoor Rai (Chiefy), Leysan Karimova (Russian Translator Zena), Inaamulhaq (Shibli), Neeraj Pardeep Purohit (Major Pratap Singh), etc.|
|Taglines||The Untold Story Of A War Hero|
Trailer of the Pippa (2023) movie
Featured Image and Poster of Pippa (2023) Movie | Amazon Prime Video, Ishaan Khatter (IG) and Canva.com