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Pippa (2023)

Pippa (2023)

A handsomely mounted but ultimately uninspired and uninspiring war drama

5.6

Movie

India
Hindi
Drama, War
2023
RAJA MENON
Avijit Dutt, Chandrachoor Rai, Inaamulhaq
140 min

TLDR

I'm no history expert, but I feel like a movie about the liberation of an entire nation from its oppressors should pay a little more attention to the people actually being oppressed.

What it's about

A captain of India's 45th Cavalary tank regiment joins the Battle of Garibpur to help liberate Bangladesh.

The take

If Pippa makes one crucial mistake that derails its drama, it's not that the film opens with a violent but necessary scene of Bangladeshi people being massacred by Pakistani troops. It's that the film never actually returns to any Bangladeshi characters, instead becoming an overly familiar story about more privileged soldiers and their sacrifices as they get to act as heroes to the camera. It's executed fairly well, with a good bit of suspense as the larger objective focuses up into a specific rescue mission. But even the flashiest production design and the most unique tank-based action can't get rid of the nagging feeling that we're being told a much less important story. In the end, this is still about the glory of military service for a greater good, which just isn't the most interesting direction for this film to take.

What stands out

Tank action in movies isn't new, but these kinds of scenes are rare enough even in war films to make any new iteration pretty exciting to watch. We don't get that many tank scenes in Pippa (the title of which actually refers to the kind of tank used by the 45th Cavalry), but they're still shot with a gritty realism and with special attention paid towards the environment. A tank is a weapon, a mobile shield, and (in this movie) a temporary aquatic vehicle, and it's fun to see how all the soldiers move around and interact with it in the heat of battle.

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