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Bravehearts review: This inconsistent anthology series is more miss than hit

Release Date: 04 Jun 2022

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Suyog Zore

The quality of the stories ranges from awful to decent; none manages to evoke the strong emotions the anthology must have been aiming for.

Dice Media's Bravehearts is an anthology series of five stories that focuses on army families. From getting to know your kid once again after having stayed apart for 15 years to dealing with the loss of a husband who died for the country, or learning about one's father's sacrifices, the series captures different aspects of the courageous journey of army personnel and their families.

Curiously, the anthology series has been streamed at a time when aspirants for military jobs have been triggered by a controversial new recruitment programme called Agnipath which will allow the government to hire soldiers for a fixed four-year term to cut salary and pension costs and reduce the average age of the forces.

Like with many other recent anthologies, the quality of the stories ranges from awful to decent, but none of them manages to evoke the strong emotions the producers must have hoped for.

The first story, titled Masterji, in the anthology written by Harman Singha and Sankalp Tripathi and directed by Happie Mongia is about the relationship between a lonely tailor (Shakti Kapoor) and an orphaned lad Kishore (Omkar Kulkarni) who aspires to become a soldier. When Kishore has to leave the orphanage on turning 18, the tailor reluctantly agrees to let him live in his house till he is recruited by the army.

This is the weakest of the five stories. Neither does the lad's struggle arouse any sympathy in the viewer nor the story of the tailor who becomes a partner in his struggle. Shakti Kapoor is decent as the old man harbouring some pain from the past, but even his performance can't make this mess work.

The second story, Jaldi Lautna Captain, features Anushka Kaushik as Vibha, whose husband's death in battle leaves the happy-go-lucky woman shocked. Vibha decides to honour her husband in the best way possible — by joining the army herself, much against her family’s wishes.

The unnecessarily dramatic plot is dragged out for nothing. The constant desire to make viewers aware of the selfless sacrifice of the army jars. Another aspect that is bothersome is how the series seems to equate army training with some basic warm-up routines before one's daily workout.

Anushka Kaushik is likeable and brings out the emotional turmoil of her character with sincerity. Despite her performance, however, the story fails to make an impression.

Shooter Jawan is about a young sweeper Tinku (Rohit Pargai), who is a gifted shooter who aspires to join the army. Tribhuvan (Anup Soni) is a dedicated officer who notices Tinku's raw talent one day and enrols him in the shooting academy.

This story, too, does not make much of an impression due to some lazy writing. In particular, the way a conflict is introduced and resolved just leaves the viewer feeling frustrated because this story had the potential to become a hard-hitting social drama.

Sarhad Ke Baad Bhi is about the strained relationship between a son and his father who has returned after 15 years of service in the army. Colonel Balram (Gireesh Sahdev) has retired and is now back home. He wants to reconnect with son Aman (Aman Jain) who is all grown-up now. But the colonel finds that Aman has disconnected from him and is no longer interested in rebuilding the relationship.

Gireesh Sahdev delivers an understated performance as a father who is trying hard to get to know his son but is also going through mental trauma. The actor's committed performance makes this fairly substandard script more engaging. Aman Jain delivers a decent performance as a lad who has been bottling up his anger for years.

The last episode, Veera, is about a young woman who is nursing a feeling of anger and hurt against the army as it deprived her of her father; he was killed in action before she was born. While not as consistent as Sarhad Ke Baad Bhi, Veera manages to keep you interested because of the earnestness of the story. Aadhya Anand delivers a moving performance as Veera who is struggling with a range of emotions.

Overall, Bravehearts is an inconsistent anthology. Also it is quite clear that the series seeks to glorify the army and the sacrifices made by its personnel. Nothing wrong there, but the task is handled in such a childish and clusmy manner that it makes us cringe.

The intrusive product placement to satisfy the sponsor Unacademy only makes things worse. The frequent and clumsy appearance of the education technology company's app simply distracts the viewer from the story being told and makes the characters feel more like salespeople.

Bravehearts is now available on YouTube.



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