STATE OF SIEGE: TEMPLE ATTACK
Producer: Abhimanyu Singh of Contiloe Films
Director: Ken Ghosh
Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Manjarii Fadniss, Abhimanyu Singh, Parvin Dabas, Akshay Oberoi, Samir Soni , Vivek Dahiya , Mir Sarvar and Gautam Rode
Streaming on: Zee 5
By Jyothi Venkatesh
After Abhimanyu Singh’s ‘State of Siege: 26/11’, based on the Mumbai attacks, this 112-minute combat drama is a fitting tribute to our NSG soldiers. This dramatized retelling could bring up unpleasant memories for some, but it is well worth watching, especially if you are not exactly aware of what happened when Akshardhaam (which is camouflaged in this film as Krishna Dham temple)was invaded in Gandhinagar 19 years ago though there is a disclaimer that the film is inspired by true events and is a creative visualization and recreation of the context of those events”.
It is the story revolving around NSG commando Hanut Singh (Akshaye Khanna) who arrives on the scene to deal with the massacre and quell the terrorist attack that claimed the precious lives of around 30 innocent civilians and left more than 80 injured.
Inspired by many real-life stories, the film ‘State of Siege: Temple Attack’ celebrates the valor of the men in uniform and makes a sincere attempt to provide a detailed overview of what happened during the operation and how NSG succeeded in saving several lives. What I like the best about this engaging film is the fact that it primarily focuses on the characters without making an attempt to portray them as heroes, even though they are so in real life.
For those of you who are uninitiated, the film is Season 2 of the State of Siege franchise on Zee 5, Season 1 of which was an eight-part mini-series about 26/11, though in effect, the two are unrelated. Temple Attack starts with a tension-ridden army raid on a terrorist hideout in Kupwara way back in 2001. The narration of that episode is marred by an overt attempt to shock, with the repeated focus on the face of an unknown Indian soldier whose eye has been blown out by an enemy firearm.
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As far as performances go, mention ought to be made of Akshaye Khanna for rendering a performance which is effective by literally getting into the skin of his character with effortless ease as Commando Hanut Singh. Gautam Rode plays the role of a happily married man awaiting the birth of his first child. Predictably, the poor guy is torn between his duty for the nation and looking after his wife who is in the hospital. Gautam Rode does a good job as Major Samar Chauhan and so does Vivek Dahiya as Captain Rohit Bagga in whatever little time they are on the screen.
The actors of the terrorist gang – their leader Abhimanyu Singh as Abu Hamza, his right-hand man 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 as Omar) render themselves adequately well and have a firm grasp of the local Pakistani-Punjabi accent.
While Parvin Dabas who plays the character of Col. Nagar, the commanding officer of the NSG has done justice to his role, Akshay Oberoi who plays the role of Capt. Bibek also has been able to leave a small impact with his tiny role. In a fleetingly small special appearance, Sameer Soni is just about average as CM Manish Choksi. Manjari is good as usual in her role as a ordinary civilian whom is trapped inside the temple with her family. To sum up, the film State of Siege Temple Attack is stirring as well as gripping.