The Forgotten Army: Web Series Review
What makes The Forgotten Army an unforgettable watch? What doesn’t? Here’s our review of Amazon Prime Video’s first series for 2020.
Cast: Sunny Kaushal, Sharvari, Rohit Chaudhary, M. K. Raina, Karanvir Malhotra, TJ Bhanu, Paloma Monappa, Shruti Seth.
Director: Kabir Khan.
Language: Hindi, English
Genre: Action, Drama.
Channel: Amazon Prime Video.
Release Date: 24th January 2020.
Surinder Sodhi. A shell of a man left behind by the war of freedom. As he comes to Singapore in 1996 to meet his ailing sister, he relives the old days of being the Colonel Sodhi of the Indian National Army (INA) back in the 1940s. Retracing his footsteps, Sodhi digs up all the memories he buried of that time, and in doing so remembers what it means to fight for freedom, what it means to be alive.
- The dream project of director Kabir Khan, what sets The Forgotten Army apart from all the stories about the INA is its minimal portrayal of Bose, and the focus on the army and their struggles. It takes viewers through the ground reality of what it took the soldiers to fight a war for their home, their soil, even though it meant fighting against their own people.
- The series runs in two timelines- 1996 and 1940s. 1996 shows Sodhi ( K. Raina) as the defeated man, a byproduct of history and its wars. This timeline, and all the events that take place here, merge effectively with the 1940s where Colonel Sodhi (Sunny Kaushal) turns into an INA soldier from the British Indian Army soldier. It documents the formation of the Rani Jhansi Regiment, the first women battalion in the world, and the contribution of these few hundred Indians in the struggle for freedom lay forgotten in the vast scale of the movement.
- Sunny Kaushal and M. K Raina are commendable as they map the character arc of Surinder Sodhi– from a man whose blood runs hot for the country to the man who has turned to stone from the disregard of the very same country. Both actors portray the spark of a soldier with steadiness and passion, breathing life into their character, and making him connect to the audience.
- The Forgotten Army is a social commentary on both the past and present. From the forgotten contribution of the Indians in the WWII, the disregard of the INA soldiers by the government, to the grave importance of achieving and maintaining freedom, it hits hard where it ought to hurt, especially in the present scenario.
- For all its grandeur and high expectations, The Forgotten Army falls short on delivering a war epic it promised. It comes off as a harried portrayal of a battle and its casualties, the translation of emotions somewhere lost in the mediocrity of the mainstream storytelling. The action sequences, admirable in their execution, become extravagant as they follow the run-of-the-mill Bollywood techniques of delivering impact. The constant hammering of the title track throughout the series seems to work as unnecessary filler in sequences where it could have definitely done without.
- The on par performances by some important characters (Sharvari, Rohit Chaudhary, Shruti Seth) intending to provide human depth to the story, comes off as weak and vague, due to a screenplay that attempts to cover a large portion on a small plate. Apart from a voiceover by Shah Rukh Khan giving a rundown of the situation, the impact of the INA and its thousands of soldiers get the very hasty focus that vacillates unsteadily between the different timelines.
The Forgotten Army reaches halfway to become the unforgettable show but lies short. Worth a watch though, for a fresh concept and genuine attempt.
- The Forgotten Army marks Sharvari’s acting debut. She is set to work in Bunty Aur Babli 2 opposite Siddhant Chaturvedi.
- The action sequences in the series are directed by Sham Kaushal, father of Sunny Kaushal who plays the lead.
Watch The Trailer Here:
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