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Movie Review | State of Siege-Temple Attack: A Winning Ode To NSG

State of Siege: Temple Attack thrills and infuses the right passion amongst the audience and a true Indian

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Here is the critic movie review of ‘State of Siege Temple Attack’. The follow-up to ZEE5 terrific web series (State Of Siege: 26/11), is in the form of a movie. State of Siege: Temple Attack is a hostage rescue thriller inspired by the September 24, 2002 terror attack on Ahmedabad’s Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple.

Directed by Ken Ghosh, the ZEE5 original movie stars Akshaye Khanna, Vivek Dahiya, Gautam Rode, Sameer Soni, Parvin Dabas and Akshay Oberoi (in a cameo). Produced by Contiloe Pictures (Abhimanyu Singh), State of Siege: Temple Attack premieres on 9th July 2021 on ZEE5 with a simultaneous release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

State of Siege: Temple Attack Movie Review

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ZEE5 along with Contiloe Pictures (Abhimanyu Singh) the producer of State of Siege: 26/11 and Lt. Col (retd.) Sundeep Sen the 2nd in command at the NSG during the dreadful 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks as consultant on both the State of Siege projects churn a satisfyingly winning ode to the valour of NSG.

Tagged as ‘SahasKiVijay’ State of Siege: Temple Attack may not be as sweeping as its previous 26/11 series but this movie is definitely a winningly explosive ode to the outstanding courage of the NSG.

Marking the debut of actor Akshaye Khanna in the OTT world and director Ken Gosh in the ‘war’ genre, State of Siege: Temple Attack is a fictional drama inspired by the real-life terrorist attack on Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, where pilgrims were held hostage. The one hour forty nine minutes movie infuses real passion in the hearts of a true Indian. The terrorist has entered the temple, are killing innocent people, NSG commando Hanut Singh (Akshaye Khanna) fighting with his PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) syndrome leads the way along with (Major Samar) Gautam Rode, to rescue innocent people and save lives till extra force arrives.

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The shocking terrorist attack on Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad came after the Gujarat riots in 2002. Without getting into the politics of any nature, I will talk about the impact of State of Siege: Temple Attack as an action packed thriller.

ZEE5’s State of Siege: 26/11 (March 2020) was based on Sandeep Unnithan’s book ‘Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11.’ State of Siege: Temple Attack is altogether a different ‘operation’ and in no way a continuation. The inclusion of Lt. Col (retd.) Sundeep Sen – the 2nd in command at the NSG during both the operation as consultant on both the State of Siege projects adds realism and authenticity to the characters especially the NSG shown in the movie.

The vulnerability of a strong, honest brave heart commander Major Hanut Singh (Akshaye Khanna) suffering from PTSD is rightly nuanced. Yes, the PTSD thing might be dramatized but the excellence of Akshaye Khanna as an actor makes it completely believable. This extra notch is due to the expertise shared by Lt. Col (retd.) Sundeep Sen.

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The writing by William Borthwick and Simon Fantauzzo is more crowd pleasing this time and straight in the face which sticks to the tried, tested and trusted military action thrillers laced with patriotism. The protagonist suffers from PTSD, a terrorist who escapes from his hand and then poses a bigger threat – Bilal Naikoo (Mir Sarwar). The exchange of a fellow terrorist by the boss – Abu Hamza (Abhimanyu Singh) in exchange of hostages. A righteous commanding officer of the protagonist – Parvin Dabas (Col. Nagar) who is not wrong and is only following the rules. Tension, passion, incredible heroism with some good action and appealing patriotism. All are there to please the audience and a true Indian.

Ken Ghosh does a decent job and helms a satisfyingly winning action ‘war’ thriller. Shot in 4 different locations during the pandemic – Manali, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Mumbai, State of Siege: Temple Attack is technically a polished effort as well.

Tejal Pramod Shetye’s cinematography truly captures the captivating locations of Manali and the thrilling action inside the temple superbly. The action by Mandhar Verma and Rinku Bacchan is thrilling. Editing by Mukesh Thakur is fine.

Performances

Akshaye Khanna makes an excellent OTT debut. Gautam Rode is fantastic.

Vivek Dahiya makes his presence felt. Sameer Soni has its moments. Parvin Dabas is fantastic. Akshay Oberoi in a cameo shines.

Abhilash Chaudhary, Dhanveer Singh, Mridul Das and Mihir Ahuja as the terrorist in the temple are rightly cast and they do create a fear on screen.

Solid support comes from Mir Sarwar, Abhimanyu Singh and Manjari Phadnis.

Final words

State of Siege: Temple Attack may lack that all out sweep achieved by its previous operation – State of Siege: 26/11 but in no way this action ‘war’ thriller lacks in thrills and infuses the right passion amongst the audience and a true Indian. Some naysayers may call it another chest beating pamphlet of glory but this true valour story of NSG glory deserves an extra for its showcase of courage, care and patriotism. Go for it.

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