This movie is the story of the events that took place in Bangladesh in 1971. With the Pakistani army camping there, it was nine months of mayhem, torture and rape. The women were camped and subjected to the most brutal assault.
Director Mritunjay Devvrat goes for a harrowing subject but goes overboard in portraying the torment. Towards the end you are drained trying to keep pace with the goings-on, on screen.
For starters, the movie is 35 minutes too long. The parallel story of a brother and sister makes no sense and eats into the narrative. Had Devvrat concentrated on the pivotal plot he would have made a dent with his brutal portrayal. But here it gets too monotonous. The scenes are oft repeated and with not much help coming in the form of inspired performances from the girls, it loses much of its sting.
Just a year-and-a-half ago, we had CHITTAGONG, a period flick set between 1929 till 1939. This movie traced the fight of young Indian rebels led by their school teacher Masterda Surya Sen played by Manoj Bajpayee. This movie had a perfect cast and was executed brilliantly. Director Bedabrata Pain never once labored over any particular scene for effect. He delivered it with its brusqueness and moved on.
The same cannot be said about CHILDREN OF WAR.
Pawan Malhotra as the Pakistani police officer is menace personified. This here is a fine actor who has not yet gotten his due. He infuses raw terror whenever he is on screen; almost maniacal. The other actor to get close to him is the young lad in the parallel story who is escaping to freedom with his sister.
Raima Sen makes her mark in this film. However, she could have raised the bar of her performance on par with Malhotra but is content essaying her role from one pitch never once raising the bar when she could have.
Also, certain scenes which needed to be brutal are almost childlike, especially the scenes where Faroque Sheikh is interrogating a rebel and when they have captured Malhotra.
CHILDREN OF WAR is dark and disturbing; it's also lengthy and misses the mark.