State of Siege - Temple Attack: A taut thriller with underlying message of futility of war & conflict
New Delhi, July 13, 2021
Mahatma Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
It is a sentiment that is apt for the several wars between India and Pakistan and the frequent terrorist attacks from across the border on various establishments in the country, the most notable among them being the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
Many Hindi films over the years, from Haqeeqat to Border, Refugee and LOC: Kargil, have sought to underline the futility of war between the neighbouring countries in that it has led to huge loss of lives and property on both sides of the border.
State of Siege - Temple Attack, streaming on ZEE5, is yet another film that seeks to emphasize the futility of war and conflict between two countries. After the success of State of Siege - 26/11, an action drama based on events around the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, Temple Attack is the next chapter in the franchise.
Based on the incident of the terrorist attack on Akshardham temple in Gujarat in 2002, wherein the terrorists took several people hostage, the film narrates the heroic tale of National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, who stepped in to rescue innocent people and neutralise the terrorists.
Four armed terrorists from across the border strike at the temple during day time when it is a hub if activity. The terrorists have orders from their masters -- to hold the visitors to the temple as hostages and use them as a bargaining point to demand the release of wanted terrorist Bilal Naikoo.
A team of NSG commandos, led by Major Hanut Singh (Akshaya Khanna) and Major Samar (Gautam Rode), is tasked with the job of rescuing the hostages from the terrorists. The film takes viewers through the efforts by the NSG commandos to rescue the hostages.
As is expected from a film of the genre of a thriller, the story moves at a fast pace right from the start. The screenplay is gripping and keeps you hooked throughout the length of the film. The action sequences are adrenaline-pumping and evoke feelings of patriotism among the audience.
Further, the film manages to bring across the feeling of patriotism and sense of duty among the NSG commandos and their families without resorting to melodrama.
While celebrating the bravery of the NSG commandos, the film also gives an underlying message about the futility of conflict while underscoring the importance of non-violence over violence.
At the end of the film, a seer from the temple is heard lamenting the gruesome spectre of bloodbath and loss of lives that such terrorist attacks bring with them.
Violence sets you back by several decades which is why there is a need to adhere to the path of non violence, says the seer, underlining the message of non-violence propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.
Coming from a seer in Gujarat, the birthplace of the Father of the Nation, this message comes across as the central theme of the film.
The film also boasts of eye filling visuals.
Akshay Kumar stands out as major Hanut Singh of the NSG, who is battling demons of the past wherein he was injured badly in a terrorist attack and lost his colleague when they were close to completing a mission. He is inspirational as the NSG commando who is ready to go beyond the line of duty to destroy enemies of the nation. Gautam Rode also comes across very effectively as major Samar.
Abhimanyu Singh is impressive as Abu Hamza. The rest of the cast, including Vivek Dahiya, Akshay Oberoi, Samir Soni, Parvin Dabas and Manjari Fadnis, lend able support.
In short, State of Siege - Temple Attack is a taut action thriller that carries a subtle message of eschewing violence and conflict for ensuring progress and development of civilization.
My rating: 3/5- one for screenplay one for direction and one for performance by Akshay Khanna.