1962: The War In The Hills Review: Abhay Deol justifies his role, however show downpours on certain aspects

For the characters to be throwing around words like ‘the army’ and ‘war’ so often, 1962: The War in The Hills barely has any convincingly choreographed battle scenes to live up to the reputation of its projected theme. Check out the review of 1962: The War in The Hills below.

By Harkirpal Singh, Updated : Feb 27, 2021 16:08 IST
1962: The War In The Hills Review: Abhay Deol justifies his role, however show downpours on certain aspects
1962: The War In The Hills

Cast: Abhay Deol, Mahie Gill, Sumeet Vyas, Divyansh Mishra, Akash Thosar Rohan Gandotra, Bijou Thaangjam,Meiyang Chang,Liao Meng Chi & Anup Soni

Director: Mahesh Manjrekar

Producer: Arre Studios

Streaming on: Disney+Hotstar 

Ratings: 3/5

1962: The War In The Hills fictionalizes a Sino-Indian battle from nearly six decades ago. It highlights the valor of a dauntless band of Indian infantrymen - most of them from a single village near Rewari, Haryana - while highlighting the enormous human cost of armed conflict through the stories of brave women who kept their chins up through the wart.

1962: The War In The Hills Web Series Review

Watch the trailer below-

1962: The War In The Hills review- An army officer's wife battles cancer without letting the strain show. A girl in love with a soldier refuses to abort a premarital pregnancy. A soldier's bride is widowed before her honeymoon but does no let the tragedy get to her. A spunky Ladakhi woman faces constant danger to life and limb to supply milk to army encampments in a war zone. These four ladies put the boys and their bayonets in the shade in 1962: The War In The Hills, streaming on Disney+Hotstar VIP

Women lend emotional power to parts of the ten-episode military action drama. When they aren't on the screen, the web series falls flat and human relationships take precedence over the clinical strategies that fuel battlefield heroics that take the edge off the combat sequences. The sub-plots built around women pining for peace work slightly better.

Abhay Deol is portrayed as an Army Major who leads a company of 125 Indian soldiers and, against all odds, prevents 3,000 PLA troops from capturing an airstrip in the Ladakh region. Major (Abhay Deol) isn't just fighting for victory. He seeks redemption for a blot on his career - a strategic retreat that he ordered in NEFA in order to save his troops and himself from being annihilated.

Abhay Deol
Abhay Deol

Deol receives significant support from Mahie Gill, Sumeet Vyas, Akash Thosar, Hemal Ingle, and others. Despite their best efforts, sustained highs elude 1962: The War In The Hills. The story takes a while to arrange the key pieces. Even after that is done, the multiple narratives plunged the show makes it harder to focus on the main plot. 

It is June 1962. Major Suraj Singh (Deol) is posted in Baramulla, where he lives with his wife Shagun (Mahie Gill) and minor daughter Neelam (Sammaera Jaiswal).  The war is about to break out. The major and his battalion are in readiness to confront the Chinese forces. Soon the village sees off all its able-bodied young men.

After the 2020 Galwan Valley clash, Shagun Singh, now a sick old woman, narrates the saga of the battle at Rezang La (in the film the place is Saksha La). Using her voice isn't a great idea. For one, you wonder how she could have been privy to so much classified information. And two, it is a giveaway: we know Shagun's 'terminal' illness, which she conceals hides from her husband until her hands are forced, isn't going to kill her.

As far as '1962: The War in the hills' review is concerned, another mistake that creators make- the village is completely stripped of its cultural and linguistic specificity which considerably undermines its impact. The that the Chinese characters in the show speak English and Hindi for the sake of easy comprehension which makes it feel less authentic, Haryanvi villagers speaking Hindi with accents robs 1962: The War In The Hills of its essence.

The Rewari boys, the keys ones, have their own arcs. Kishan (Akash Thosar), son of a grass-cutter, is in love with Radha (Hemal Ingle), a school teacher's daughter. The latter's elder sister Jaya (Pallavi Kulkarni) is married to the village headman's elder son. Pramukh's younger son Karan (Rohan Gandotra) requests his sis-in-law to convince Radha to marry him. That translates into a love triangle involving two army men and heartbreak, this love affair again diverts the story from the main plot. 

Ram Kumar (Sumeet Vyas), a hot-headed soldier, is a single father to a motherless boy who has a special bond with Padma (Pooja Sawant). Complications arise when the man who the Padma weds, the simple-minded Gopal (Satya Manjrekar), marches off to war on a nuptial night. Their marriage remains unconsummated.

Sumit Vyas as Ram Kumar
Sumit Vyas as Ram Kumar 

On the battlefield, spur-of-the-moment act drives a wedge between Ram Kumar and Gopal's elder brother Hardham (Vinit Sharma). Another case of two men at loggerheads. Again, a woman, much more sorted than the men, restores the balance.

Not only does humble milkwoman Rinpa (Rochelle Rao) help the Indian soldiers in ways that go beyond her trade, Indira Gandhi (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan), who was 45 years old in 1962, is written in to the show offering significant inputs when Jawaharlal Nehru (Arif Zakaria), who isn't referred to by name, presides over tense war-room meetings. The Prime Minister lets his grip on his emotions slip when disconcerting reports trickle in from the war. The daughter - she isn't named either - steps up to proffer sage advice.

According to audience reviews, 1962: The War In The Hills, for better or for worse, separates itself from usual recurring thematic storyline. It celebrates the tricolor and the bravery of Indian soldiers all right, but the war cries are rarely as belligerent as they usually tend to be in real life scenarios. An elaborate version of Vande Mataram plays on the soundtrack as Indian soldiers trek to the inhospitable terrain they have to defend. Over the top background music makes the show feel less authentic and less technical. 

While a handful of the Chinese soldiers - one of them is called Ug Lee (Liao Meng Chi) - it's pronounced ugly so that nobody is left in any doubt - are inevitably ruthless PLA commander, is played by Meiyang Chang, is a thorough gentleman who never wavers from the path of fair play.

Meiyang Chang
Meiyang Chang as Liao Meng Chi

While concluding 1962: The War in The Hills Review, we can say that, In this war drama, the men inevitably get more of the footage. Abhay Deol is perfectly cast. Sumeet Vyas and Akash Thosar, both cast against type, are up to the challenge. However, Anup Soni, saddled with an underwritten role, gets the short shrift. Mahie Gill and Hemal Ingle are especially good. Pooja Sawant, Pallavi Kulkarni, and Rochelle Rao, too, make their presence felt.

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