A story of bravery and camaraderie is being released in the UK to honor the renowned and fearless Gurkha soldiers from Nepal and north-east India, who have long been allies of the British army. The lead actor, Ritesh Chams, is a retired Gurkha who actually fought and was injured in Afghanistan, which adds an extra layer of authenticity to his performance. Several other members of the cast are also former soldiers, lending further credibility to the film. However, director Milan Chams, along with co-writer Giriraj Ghimire, relies heavily on cliches and overly sentimental moments, which may appeal to the target audience.
The beginning scene features an aged man in the present, placing flowers on a mountain memorial on November 11th to pay tribute to his ancestors and fallen soldiers. He tells his grandchild that he is honoring those who bravely fought and perished in the world wars. This could be a poorly translated subtitle or a deliberate misdirection, as the conflict depicted is actually the Malayan Emergency of 1948-1960, where Gurkhas and British soldiers fought together against communist insurgents fighting for independence – a completely different situation.
Regardless, the youth we encounter are not concerned with politics or colonialism. They resemble a typical group of soldiers in a war movie – a ragtag bunch of jesters, scoundrels, and honorable heroes who are simply fulfilling their military duties and longing to return to their loved ones. It is unclear who our wise narrator is, but the protagonist who emerges is Corporal Birkha Bahadur Rai (Chams), who is tasked, along with his comrades, to venture into the jungle and rescue some fellow soldiers who have been abducted by a dramatic and villainous Malay. They trudge through mud, treacherous terrain, and even tiger-infested areas, occasionally making jokes but mostly maintaining a determined attitude. Meanwhile, back at home, Birkha’s young wife and mother cry frequently and eagerly await his return. The exaggerated performances draw more from Indian cinema traditions than war films of directors like Howard Hawks or Steven Spielberg, but this adds to the overall charm of the movie.