From Science to Politics: 'The Vaccine War' Offers a Mixed Perspective

Based on the book 'Going Viral' by Prof. Balram Bhargava of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), The Vaccine War narrates the intriguing development of India's indigenous vaccine called Covaxin with all the internal as well as external challenges encountered during its making...

Publicised as India's first bioscience film, producer- director Vivek Agnihotri and team deserve a huge applause for putting the spotlight on our unsung heroes - the scientists at ICMR and National Institute of Virology (NIV), who toiled day and night for months to combat the formidable enemy called Corona. The fact that majority of these scientists were women also makes it a pertinent subject of women power. The film is a must see only for that...

Vivek Agnihotri's political leanings are well known and no surprises, he layers his script with an elaborate sub-plot of an almost evil journalist (Raima Sen) plotting against the desi vaccine on orders of the foreign pharma conglomerates hell bent on arm twisting India. While a particular obscure media portal has indeed been indicted of spreading fake news, there were ten other major media channels promoting the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiative at that time. The Vaccine War forgets this and instead paints the whole media as anti-establishment. In the climax, they are actually equated to terrorists, which is seriously not done!! 

Assuredly, the casting is perfect and Nana Patekar and Pallavi Joshi, appearing together after three decades since Trishagni (1989), are truly outstanding. Girija Oak and Sapthami Gowda pitch in sincere performances. It is interesting as well as ironic to watch the extremely pretty Raima Sen in such a vicious role and boy, does she nail it. Kudos!! 

The Vaccine War soars and roars till the time it stays true to its source content of how Covaxin was developed in record time and ended up saving countless lives across the globe. The minute it switches gears to the toolkit narrative, it somehow withers and dithers...

Nevertheless, this is a relevant film of our time which leaves us with a positive message that India CAN do it. Covaxin, Chandrayaan, G20... we have seen it happen in last few years. Three cheers to that!! 

Ratings on some key aspects* : 

1. Acting : 4.5/5 

2. Direction : 4/5

3. Music : 3.5/5 

4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 3/5

5. Cinematography : 3/5

6. Editing : 3/5 

7. Costume Design : 3/5

8. Special Effects and VFX : 3.5/5

9. Action : NA

10. Production Quality : 3.5/5

#SNRating for #TheVaccineWar : 3 & 1/2 stars out of 5. 

- Sumeet Nadkarni

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* - The overall film rating is not a simple average of all ratings on key aspects but a weighted average of the ratings where some crucial aspects (like direction, acting, story and screenplay etc) are assigned more weightage than others. 

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#SNRatings barometer:

1 star = Poor

1 & 1/2 star = Below average/ Avoidable

2 stars = Average

2 & 1/2 stars = Above average/ Risk it

3 stars = Good enough/ Endurable

3 & 1/2 stars = Definitely worth a watch

4 stars = Very good

5 stars = Masterpiece/ Outstanding. 

About Sumeet Nadkarni:

Sumeet Nadkarni is a Chartered Accountant by profession and a self-styled film critic by passion. He reviews Bollywood movies and OTT releases on his popular personal blog #SNRatings. His film-related articles have appeared in leading publications in India. With a keen eye for cinematic detail and a knack for insightful critiques, Sumeet brings a unique perspective to the world of Indian cinema. Follow him for the latest Bollywood insights and unbiased film reviews. #FilmCritique #BollywoodReviewer


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