Hotstar’s 1962: The War in the Hills Review: Not Powerful Enough

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1962: The War In the Hills released on Hotstar on February 26. Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, it stars Abhay Deol, Mahie Gill, Akash Thosar, Rohan Gandotra, Hemal Ingle, Pooja Sawant, Sumeet Vyas, and Meiyang Chang. It has 10 episodes, each one of the duration of 45-50 mins. So how’s the show? Keep reading the review.

The story of the Hotstar show is set in 1962 ahead of the Indo-China war. Abhay Deol plays the role of Major Suraj Singh who is the commander of India Army’s C company. Mahie Gill portrays his wife, Shagun Singh. When you have the Dev D pair teaming up again, you expect something great. Sadly, that doesn’t happen in 1962: The War in the Hills.

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The makers have tried to focus not only on the war storyline but have tried to show us the life of the soldiers as well. We are shown the backdrop of these brave souls fighting a war for us. You expect it to be a Border, but it doesn’t fully glue you to the screen.

1962: The War in the Hills shows us the extent to which these army men can go to serve the country. However, their life isn’t so good. Each has faced some kind of discrimination in the past, something that has scarred them for life. But at the war front, all they know is their duty to serve the country.

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The star cast of the show is spectacular. Abhay Deol’s portrayal of Major Suraj Singh is commendable and you wish he gets more powerful and meaty roles. The supporting cast does an impeccable job too. However, 1962: The War in the Hills suffers due to its weak and confused writing.

1962 The War In The Hills
1962: The War in The Hills Still

When you try to put a lot in one show, especially if it’s based on one of the major wars in the country – Indo-China, you have to be careful about where you stop going overboard. In the past, we have seen a highly-acclaimed show like The Family Man that keeps it simple yet intrigues us with twists and performances. That’s highly missing in 1962: The War in the Hills.

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Another disappointing factor in the series is how they’ve ignored the pivotal details. The show mainly focuses on the lives of most soldiers who live in a village near Haryana’s Rewari. The era is 1962, but their lifestyle or how the village is set looks too modern. If that wasn’t enough, the Chinese people in 1962: The War in the Hills are talking in Hindi. That’s not even the weird part here – they speak Hindi as the foreigners did in Lagaan!

Sitting through these scenes and watching the Chinese speak Hindi with an accent had me cringe. It would’ve been better if they were talking Mandarin and we had subtitles to translate their lines. The authenticity is what makes digital platforms different from traditional media. We have grown up watching Bollywood films where makers fooled their audience by pulling off such tricks. But today’s audience is smart. I wish director Mahesh Manjrekar would’ve done better here.

1962: The War in the Hills: Worth It?

Overall, 1962: The War in The Hills tries to do something different than other war shows/movies. It shows us the world of these brave soldiers, their lives, struggles, families and background. But the multiple narratives have jumbled the show and takes away the impact it was supposed to leave on us. By not paying attention to small details, I can’t help but think that the makers have done a lazy work at perfecting it. It’s a show that can be skipped because you don’t want to be disappointed to see how some skilled actors and their talent are wasted.

Watch 1962: The War in the Hills on Hotstar.

To read more such reviews, click here.

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1962: The War in the Hills tries to do something different but doesn't pay attention to the small details that take the audiences out of the experience as a whole.
Pooja Darade
Insatiable cinematic soul.


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