The Forgotten Army
Created and Directed by- Kabir Khan
Cast- Sunny Kaushal, Sharvari Wagh, Karanvir Malhotra, MK Raina
Kabir Khan brings the story of Indian men and women soldiers fighting personal battles to help achieve freedom for the country from British captivity in Amazon Prime Original series The Forgotten Army. History of war and casualty is interspersed with themes of affection, sacrifice and youth activism, making it a rounded series and potentially giving it various avenues to extract flavour of human emotion, which it amply does, but somewhere the series lacks originality and one- tone performances drags it along roughly for 3 hours and over 5 episodes.
The Forgotten Army begins with retired army officer Surinder Sodhi (MK Raina) meeting his family. He is old and reminisces his military days and narrates the tale of Azad Hind Fauj to his grandson Amar, played by Karanvir Malhotra. Meanwhile, Sodhi's firsthand experince in war is lived through his voice and Sunny Kaushal's character in the past, in the 1940s.
Sodhi (Sunny) and his men are shown to have surrendered to the Japanese army in Singapore and now together they have plans of liberating India from Britishers by training and sending more Indian soldiers to fight in their country. The moral dilemma of Indians doing the Britishers' bidding in war is apparent and Sodhi and his men grab the opportunity with open hands, when they learn that India can be free from foreign rule. That is too much fodder for patriotism alone, but alas, The Forgotten Army does not bank on it owing to its oversimplistic nature. Characters are not explored in-depth and thus emotions remain a matter of touch and go.
Maya, played by Sharvari Wagh, is the only character which is a source of freshness in the series. Women rights, their cause and rebellion are explored through her perspective and the assumption that women are too fragile for war is shattered via her presence. Sharvari's performance is although one-tone and repetition begin to weigh down your interest in her character.
The technical aspects like cinematography and editing in Kabir Khan's series are good, though not excellent. Since the story is cutting parallel in time and space, you may not find yourself looking for things to do because every time a segment gets too weary, there's the reality of our current times to draw you in as a viewer. In this, the makers have tactfully hinted that decades may have come and gone but there are many battles to be won indeed. The sympathy that Kabir shows for other nations' cause of freedom is commendable and he represents them as not the other but as us.
All in all, The Forgotten Army seems like it may become one of those not-much-liked series. But it is nevertheless a quick trip down the history lane and if you are particularly in mood for some country love, it may serve you well.
All episodes of The Forgotten Army are streaming on Amazon Prime Original.