Cast: Rana Daggubati, Regina Cassandra, Nasser and others
Run-Time: 122 minutes
The film under review should have been titled ‘1945: A Love Story’ instead of just ‘1945’. If nothing, that would have prepared the audience for the genre. In 1994, the Hindi-language patriotic romance ‘1942: A Love Story’ became an acclaimed outing. ‘1945’ barely borrows its plot points from it. A couple of its characters starkly remind us of the Bollywood film, though. Beyond that, ‘1945’ follows its own logic of telling a formula-ridden story. At times, its template reminds us of the ‘evil Zamindar exploits poor villager’ trope. At other times, the film is a belaboured attempt at seeming epic. It ends up being an epic misfire. It feels like an elementary regional-language web show made with one too many compromises.
Rana Daggubati (who shot for the film in 2016-17, only to disown it after allegedly developing differences with the makers) plays Adhi, a revolutionary freedom fighter who is fired by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s heroic exploits. He is part of a courageous regiment led by a fiery commander (Sathyaraj, who played Baahubali’s Katappa). The film’s timeline shifts to the days when Adhi fell in love with Anandhi (Regina), the beautiful daughter of a loyal British government employee named Subbayya (Nasser).
The love affair between Adhi and Anandhi is potentially subversive and its arc can be seen from miles away. The start, middle and end of this affair are replete with familiar elements that are not only predictable but also have been narrated in a dull fashion. The track between the lead protagonist and his friend (played by comedian Saptagiri, whose reactions and repartees are routine) feels too contemporary for a film set in the pre-Independence era.
Between spies, police atrocities and usurious colonial taxes, the film has little drama. The theme of colonial exploitation has been narrated in a run-of-the-mill, basic fashion. The strategies and machinations don’t give you a high because they are nearly non-existent.
While the cinematography and the costumes departments do a fairly decent job, the film is undone by the inadequate background music and the frivolous graphics. The abysmal quality of production values would still have been tolerable had the writing been weighty. The Britishers are trigger-happy antagonists who behave more like the underwritten villains of mass masala movies. The action sequences can be described in one sentence: Somebody will shoot and somebody will die.
In an initial scene, Adhi says that Netaji’s demise is fake news. The underlying emotion has so much heft. Had the script been anchored in such an emotion, ‘1945’ would at least have been a respectable idea on paper.
Watch the trailer below: