How can someone really do this to the epic war that was fought between India and China back in 1962? Not that many on this side of the new millennium have heard much about it. Hence, it was all the more necessary that a web series was being made around this, it had to be at least half decent in order to at least bring the story in front of the audiences. However, 1962: The War In The Hills turns out to be such a poor show that one wonders whether it should not have been commissioned in the first place, as it has only ended up creating a bad impression.
The short trailer that has been cut for the web series is still fair enough. At least, it sets the base for the war that was fought almost six decades back when Indian soldiers had to bear the chilling cold of Ladakh in fleet shoes and not much of the woolens around. Moreover, the crisp shots of the war sequences gave an impression that you get to witness some high adrenalin moments which you would witness with your eyes glued to the screen.
Unfortunately, within the first episode itself you realize that the promo was something else and the end product entirely different. If poor dubbing, especially for the secondary characters, is blatantly on your face and puts you off, what is all the more disappointing is sheer lack of urgency that the characters show. When Abhay Deol, an army officer, and his wife Mahie Gill talk about the war, you just don’t get emotional enough about what would eventually ensue. Presence of their teenage daughter doesn’t help either but then you expect the drama to enhance.
Surprisingly, the show completely dips from the second episode itself when it moves away from the battlefield and instead steps into the household of the other characters. It is not just one or two, there are as many as four or five stories of other characters that start running in parallel, all of whom seem to be coming from the same village and practically living next to each other. It only puzzles you that why is director Mahesh Manjrekar interested in telling the story of these characters and that too in so much detail when there is a battle to be fought.
Even that would have been ok had the scenes been impressive, actors competent and direction tout. 1962: The War In The Hills fails in all of these departments as not even a single scene in the village manages to hold your attention, actors win your heart with their on-screen emotions and direction allowing the interspersions of these plot points into the story which was being sold to the audiences. It is all way too boring and worse, neither the production values for the scenes set in the village are good nor are the technical aspects in the story telling.
For a web series which has been sold on Abhay Deol’s name, he is hardly there as the secondary characters, most of these played by unknown or lesser known actors with no real screen presence of acting skills to talk home about, taking center-stage. Moreover, so many scenes are so amateurishly shot that you wonder whether Mahesh Manjrekar has truly directed the web series right through.
Yes, when the scene shifts to the battle sequences, there is still some respite, especially with Meiyang Chang playing a Chinese colonel and bringing on some good screen presence and weight to the proceedings. Also, the color palette used for the war sequences has a classy touch to it with a big screen feel. That is what holds your attention as well with an occasional background score further enhancing the impact. However, the moment you are back in the household of the soldiers from the tale, there is absolute boredom that sets in again.
Skip this one conveniently as these 10 episodes lasting around 40 minutes each would not just make you lose your interest pretty soon but also test your patience big time.