When the whole nation is burning with the menace of Naxalism, the release of Ananth Narayan’s ‘Red Alert: The War Within’ couldn’t have been at a better time, for the movie is perfectly in sync with the contemporary political reality.
Starring Suniel Shetty, Bhagyashree, Ashish Vidyarthi, Seema Biswas, Ayesha Dharker, Naseeruddin Shah and Vinod Khanna, ‘Red Alert: The War Within’ is a hard hitting realistic film which follows India’s most turbulent movement.
The movie does not romanticise Naxalism and projects the stark reality of the movement, and its ideology with a straight face. The film follows the story of a cook (Suniel), who delivers food to the Maoists and lives happily with his wife Bhagyashree and two lovely kids. However, one day when he is caught in the interlocking fire between the cops and the Naxals, he is forced to join the league of Naxals under the tutelage of Ashish Vidyarthi. A man who never adhered to any political leanings, Suniel gives in to the firebrand Vidyarthi – a callous leader of guerrilla fighters who want to take away their rights in the name of freedom from the state. Apart from Suniel, ‘Red Alert: The War Within’ stars gun-slinging Seema Biswas and Sameera Reddy in a deglamourised avatar. Watch out for Suniel’s dilemma regarding killing people and Vidyarthi ideology which brands the Maoist movement as the human rights movement.
Talking in terms of performance, ‘Red Alert: The War Within’ portrays the transformation of Suniel from an apolitical cook to an enlightened person as the film presents him in a never-seen-before role. Vidyarthi looks every bit convincing in his Naxal leader act. Apart from it, despite their small roles, both Naseeruddin Shah and Vinod Khanna leave an indelible image in the minds of the audiences.
In all, ‘Red Alert: The War Within’ remains politically correct, for it does not offer any final solution to the burning issues of Naxalism. The film is not a documentary or a political tirade, yet it is a hard hitting political cinema which needs some serious thought.
Ratings: Three cheers for this one!