Review: ‘P.O.W. – Bandi Yuddh Ke’ is a NEW BEGINNING for Indian television!

It is cinema on television and if you haven’t seen it yet, you are missing the best.. Rating – ****1/2 (4.5/5)

P.O.W. – Bandi Yuddh Ke

Mon-Sat 10.30 p.m. on Star Plus

Produced By – Monisha Advani & Madhu G. Bhojwani (Emmay Entertainment)

Cast – Purab Kohli, Satyadeep Mishra, Sandhya Mridul, Amrita Puri, Arun Bali, Sujata Kumar, Suhaas Ahuja, Ghazal Thakur, Krish Pathak & Manish Chaudhary

The Story So Far..

It is rare where you get captivated by the first shot of a TV show and that is what, P.O.W. – Bandi Yuddh Ke’ does. Amidst the on-going warfare between India and Pakistan, two men are left loose by the Pakistani army on the border fence, where, Indian soldiers, following the protocol shoot at one of them. However, soon, after the lights are on, the Indian army realizes they are not Pakistanis.

We are then introduced to Naib Subedar Sartaj Singh (Purab Kohli) and Squadron Leader, Imaan Khaan (Satyadeep Mishra), two captives who have apparently escaped from the Pakistani prison. While, the visuals stutter trying to give you clarity on the actual issue, we are introduced to Harleen Kaur (Amrita Puri), Sartaj Singh’s wife, who has been taking care of the family lone-handed and has the full support of her father-in-law, Harpal Singh (Arun Bali) and the entire family. Living in a sparkling area of Punjab, the family lives happily but not forgetting the fact that their son has been missing since the past 17 years. While, Sartaj’s father wants Harleen to move on and get married, Harleen insists that she is living her life in happiness and is hopeful too.

Cut to the urban setting, where Imaan Khan’s wife, Nazneen Khan (Sandhya Mridul) has two grown-up kids, Shaira (Ghazal Thakur) and Ayaan (Krish Pathak). She is a successful woman but has the unprecedented support of Imaan’s brother, Salim (Suhaas Ahuja). Salim has a wonderful camaraderie with Imaan’s kids and likes Nazneen too. And with the consent of Imaan’s mother, Salim and Nazneen decide to get married, making the kids happy. But things are complicated as Nazneen is still haunted with the fact that her husband has been missing since the past 17 years.

However, fate has other plans where one phone call, made to both the families changes the situation completely. They are informed that these two Prisoners Of War’, are back in India. Lives are set to transform completely where the homecoming for the duo is memorable.

After an emotional reunion and celebrations of the return, we get surprised when a government agent, Vikram Singh (Manish Chaudhary) gets cynical about this return and is skeptical about the real intentions of this sudden freedom’.

Amidst several emotional scenes and flashes of the flashback, Vikram Singh tries to decode the mystery behind this return. After tactfully seeking permission from the authorities, Vikram arranges a debriefing-cum-interrogation with these two soldiers.

And this gruesome and challenging interrogation doesn’t go down too well with the wives of the two, where Nazneen, with the help of the media pressure, manages to pressurize Vikram, who is forced to let Sartaj and Imaan go.

The next shots are about how a national announcement is made about Sartaj and Imaan being awarded with the Gallantry Award in a special honouring ceremony.

Vikram Singh is not allowed to enter that ceremony, however, while watching the ceremony on TV, he notices something that makes him take a drastic step and call the bigger authority and he tries to explain him that something is extremely wrong about the whole setting. What is that? It is how he learns that Imaan and Sartaj have been communicating with each other in Morse Code (sign language) and checks the tapes of the interrogation and watches the same. The authority is shocked and before he tries to soak it in, the ceremony is at its climax. What we learn next is the celebrations of the soldiers at Nazneen’s home, while Vikram is still a man-on-a-mission.

So, what is the real suspense about these Prisoners Of War? Have they been in fact sent by the Pakistani authorities with a mission or they are just used as bait? How will this impact the lives of Harleen and Nazneen? Only time will tell.

Rating – ***** (5/5)

What’s Good..

The setting of the show is humongous in its own sense, where it cannot be denied that the visuals presented are captivating. Be it the warfare scenes or the village setting of Punjab, the visuals are an absolute treat.

The show doesn’t deviate from the actual crux for a single moment inspite of adding breathers amidst the gruesome torture scenes.|

There is an element of suspense and question mark in every episode which keeps you at the edge of the seat. Be it the debriefing sessions or even a simple conversation between the actors, there is an element of intrigue which leads you to a surprise.

The flashback scenes of torture that the POWs are shown to go through are so realistic that you feel the pain and agony yourselves.

Rating – ***** (5/5)

What’s Not-So-Good..

In a content-driven cinematic spectacle like this, there is nothing much to fault out. However, if pointed out, there can be only this fact that Indian viewers may need some more breathers amidst such intense scenes.

Rating – **** (4/5)

The Performances

The principal cast of the show includes Satyadeep Mishra, Sandhya Mridul, Purab Kohli and Amrita Puri aka Imaan Khan, Nazneen Khan, Sartaj Singh and Harleen Kaur respectively. And, all four of them manage to absolutely excel in their roles without a single glitch. From the smiles to the emotions to the agony and the struggle, the quartet manages to give a performance that deserves a standing ovation.

The supporting cast of the show which include Manish Chaudhary, Suhaas Ahuja, Arun Bali and Sujata Kumar among others do what they do best and that is WOW. Manish Chaudhary gives us the flashed of his performance from Powder’ and we really wish he does more shows in the future.

Rating – ***** (5/5)

The Verdict
Several would have immediately felt what is natural to feel, and that is Oh! This is so much like the film, New York’. Well, the torture scenes may give you that flavour, but let me assure you, it is not. P.O.W – Bandi Yudh Ke’ gives you the chance to watch something even greater than films on your television. Time and again, we come across the fact about presenting progressive content and POW’ goes way above par that. A saga with suspense, drama, intellect and spectacle, P.O.W. – Bandi Yudh Ke’ is a quintessentially speaking must-watch.

Rating – ****1/2 (4.5/5)

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