The Forgotten Army – Showcasing the Struggle of INA Soldiers

The Forgotten Army
The Forgotten Army by Kabir Khan gives a perfect glimpse of Indian National Army (INA), founded by Subhash Chandra Bose. Here’s my take on it.

There was always question among every Indian on the whereabouts of Subhash Chandra Bose. This man reportedly died in a flight crash at Saigon. But Chandrachur Ghose of Mission Netaji fame is suggesting a separate narrative. I’m not sure what others think of it. I have been quite curious to know what happened to him and read whatever came my way on him.

We all were concerned about this one man, but not the army of 50,000 which he gathered for India’s freedom struggle. Yes, 50,000! At least that’s what Kabir Khan, the erstwhile Director of Bajrangi Bhaijaan says in his Amazon Prime web series – The Forgotten Army.

Rangoon enacted by Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Saif Ali Khan was in fact the first movie which I saw portraying INA and the involvement of Indians in the Second World War. But that movie was more inclined towards the central character that was speculated to be Mary Evans.

The Forgotten Army does give us a glimpse of the struggle INA men and most importantly women in their march towards Delhi to free India from the British Empire. But sadly, their last march to Delhi was for their own death.

Kabir Khan seems to be someone with a lot of positivity and that is very well replicated in every scene (His movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan too replicated the same). Surinder Sodhi, the central character of the series turns out to be charming when he talks about India and the leading lady; Maya Srinivasan clicks a picture of him saying, “Your face turns bright when you talk about your motherland.”

Yes, that is more visible among all the actors in the series. The most prominent supporting role which I considered to be promising was of Rasamma. An Indian girl working in the farms of a British Officer is subject to molestation every now and then. But the Battle of Singapore between the British Indian Army and Japanese comes as a relief for her. Later, she finds solace in joining INA and dying hard to prove that women are not meant to satisfy men.

But what seemed irrelevant were the happenings in 1996 when Surinder Sodhi visits his family in Singapore. His niece who pursues Journalism takes him to Burma (Myanmar) to capture some pictures of the local student revolt. The storyline is shown as Surinder Sodhi reliving his days at Burma in while he was a soldier of INA. But he dies fighting the present-day battle against the Myanmar government.

I personally felt, a series with complete focus on the days of freedom struggle would have been more relevant. Anyhow, both the periods are well balanced with similar plots. Overall, the series has been pretty comprehensive and among the very few attempts in the Indian cine space to showcase our freedom struggle movement. No one so far, at least to my knowledge thought of attempting something on this subject.

Shah Rukh Khan’s voice for the series is a value addition. But the biggest of all value additions will be showing the soldiers sing the national anthem. Also, I believe a sharp focus on Red Fort Trials would’ve been another value addition to the whole series.

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