Best of 2010 So Far!
Rating – * * * *
Almost daily we read newspaper reports about naxals and their terror movement. But how many of us are truly educated about this grave problem India is facing? Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s Red Alert – The War Within is a scorching eye-opener for all those ignorant about the issue as it provides an in-depth view of the naxals and also portrays their mindset in a manner that will shake, thrill, move as well as entertain.
The film gains momentum right from the very first scene when Narsimha (Sunil or Suneil Shetty), a cook, visits a naxal camp to provide food. The unexpected circumstances force Narsimha to stay with the group and also be a part of them. Along with Narsimha, the viewer is taken on an unconquered, harsh and heart-wrenching journey courtesy the activities of the naxalite group that includes Velu Anna (Ashish Vidyarthi), Saralaka (Seema Biswas), Murli (Sunil Sinha), Radhaka (Ayesha Dharker), Laxmi (Sameera Reddy) and Krishna (Ehsan Khan).
Making a film like Red Alert can take a toll on the best of directors and for this Anant Mahadevan has every reason to keep his head high as he has handled the subject with maturity and intelligence. His subtle as well as hard hitting presentation of Narsimha’s journey is sure to grab the viewer’s attention throughout. This is easily Mahadevan’s best work till date. In fact, it is difficult to believe he is the same person who gave films like Aksar, Victoria No. 203, Aggar and Anamika.
Mahadevan is blessed with Aruna Raje’s flawless and watertight screenplay. The film wouldn’t have been what it is without such a brilliant writing effort. To weave the lives of the naxals, their thinking, attitude and terror acts while making the audience feel for the central character of Narsimha is no ordinary feat. Although the climax might appear filmi, it certainly provides a positive feel because of unexpected twists.
The dialogues and the background score are highly effective. The cinematography deserves special mention as it can be a hell of a task to shoot around 80% of the movie in jungles.
Red Alert redefines Sunil Shetty who shocks with his career best performance. The actor gives a run for the money to all top performers in the country as he gets into the skin of the character in a masterful manner. His expressions, dialogue delivery, the way he depicts Narsimha’s confusion, depression, agony and determination makes him a candidate for a National Award. Damn all those stand up comedians who make fun of this actor!
There are a bunch of other actors like Seema Biswas, Ayesha Dharker, Sunil Sinha, Makarand Deshpande, Vinod Khanna and Zakir Hussain who give top-notch performances. But it’s Ashish Vidyarthi who makes us wonder why he isn’t seen much these days. His performance as the head of the naxals Velu Anna oozes terror in every scene of his. Sameera Reddy is a total revelation. Also a career best performance by her for she leaves a strong impact in a complete de-glam avatar. Naseeruddin Shah impresses in a cameo while Bhagyashree is not bad.
The low opening the film has gained (which will always be the case until the audience comes out of romantic and comedy entertainers’ hangover) won’t overshadow its numerous achievements. In my personal opinion, Red Alert – The Terror Within is clearly the best 2010 has offered so far.