The Abhay Deol starrer Disney+ Hotstar VIP original series is a fictionalized version of the 1962 war between India and China, stretched over ten episodes. Though the disclaimer describes it as both fictional and inspired by true stories, it is the former that weighs down the latter and, consequently, the entire series. In today's times, it isn't a challenging job in India to market on Nationalism, and there would not have been a better time to release a series based on the India-China war, considering the present border tensions. But does this fact make the series worthy of your time? Read on to find out.
As evident from the title, the series is inspired by the Indo-Sino war of 1962. Starring Abhay Deol and Mahie Gill in lead roles, it takes a different angle to capture the build-up to the D-Day by telling the backstories of soldiers and detailing them quite heavily across episodes. Major Suraj Singh (Abhay Deol) is the commander of one of the companies of the Indian Army, the C Company that consists mostly of members from a small village of Rewari, Haryana. The congregation of almost every C Company personnel in one village makes it easier for Director Mahesh Manjrekar to portray in depth their emotional stories. It also showcases how Major Suraj Singh manages his personal and professional lives while living with his wife and daughter.
The most significant plus-point of the series is the in-depth portrayal of soldiers' lives. The village scenes are well shot, and individuals' personal stories are somewhat capable of holding your attention. The cast is fantastic, with Abhay Deol, expectedly, stealing the show. The depiction of the bravery shown by Indian Soldiers while facing a fierce opposition deserves appreciation.
The series is over-fictionalized and feels more like a drama than a war drama. It is mostly superficial and far from reality. Another slump is its length of 10 episodes, which adds more to a headache than entertainment. Vfx is also disappointing, with some gunshots clearly looking fake and war scenes too far from genuineness. The series shows every Chinese army man speaking in Hindi, a step aimed at making it easier for the audiences to understand, according to the creators. Though well-intentioned, the decision takes away the authenticity of several scenes. An alternative could have been to provide Hindi subtitles, as done usually. Apart from this, the series suffers from another technical absurdity- dubbing. Even a beginner would notice the variations quickly in lip-syncing. In its entirety, 1962: The war in the hills could have been far better than its current version.
It is an average series that is suggested to be watched only if one can manage ten episodes in one go. If you wish to watch it in bits and pieces, better avoid it.