Starring: Nana Patekar, Sapthami Gowda, Pallavi Joshi, Raima Sen, Anupam Kher, Girija Oak, Paritosh Sand
Director: Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri
Based on a book by Professor Balram Bhargava, Indian physician scientist, cardiologist, medical educationist, innovator and former Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), entitled ‘Going Viral: Making of Covaxin’, this latest film by filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri showcases the making of India’s first indigenous vaccine to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The film kicks off with an opening scene where the cop is seen trying to maintain control by punishing anyone not following the lockdown orders that were important during the pandemic. But frustrated, he ends up punishing a scientist that is working on making the vaccine.
The movie portrays the plight of the scientist and the disrespect they face in society. It also tries to show the problems they faced in making Covaxin and how they are treated by the public. The talented cast of actors includes Anupam Kher as a senior government authority and Nana Patekar essays the central role of Balram Bhargava, the man behind the vaccine.
MORE LIKE THIS…
Split over multiple parts, each consecutively talks about the problems the scientists face and how they overcame the same and are successful in the end. The first half of the film consists of the scientific language where ICMR in collaboration with Bharat Biotech and Institute of Virology tackle all the possible problems in developing the vaccine.
After the second part, it gets easier once the virus is isolated and the vaccine is developed. Agnihotri does not fail in delivering emotions of the cast and portrays the scientists as true soldiers fighting a war – a war against the virus. There is resounding excitement when the team of scientists achieve a breakthrough in their mission, helplessness when results are delayed due to severe financial constraints, anger when a senior puts pressure over his team and many tears are shed. All these emotions make up India’s first bio-medical film.
The subtle use of the ‘Mahabharata’ is reflected as Bhargava focuses on achieving the ‘machli ki aankh’ or the eye of the fish akin to the ancient warrior of the epic Arjuna. Nana Patekar’s character references the media as the real virus as they promote foreign vaccines.
MORE LIKE THIS…
The story is simple, yet hard hitting. The dialogues are punchy and can also evoke some tears as the scientists struggle their way through. Women are described as an important part of the vaccine war, where 70 per cent of the success can be credited to them as they leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the goal to save humanity.
The movie is a must watch that should not be viewed from just one perspective, but one that balances out various aspects.