Today John Abraham’s Romeo Akbar Walter releases. Given the fact that it is set during the India – Pakistan war of 1971, one can well expect a high dose of jingoism in there.
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“It isn’t surprising if many are thinking that way. After all, 2019 has already seen a patriotic blockbuster in the form of Uri – The Surgical Strike and the anti-Pakistan sentiments worked quite well for the commercial success of the film. You expect the formula to work in Romeo Akbar Walter as well which takes one straight back in time when tension between India and Pakistan had already resulted in a war zone,” says an insider.
However, the fact also remains that the script of Romeo Akbar Walter was completed a couple of years back. Moreover, the sensibility of leading man John Abraham and its director Robbie Grewal doesn’t really augur well with the kind of commercial ingredients that one expects in a film with a theme like this.
“Exactly, there is no jingoism in Romeo Akbar Walter,” says Robbie, “The film is not about good versus bad. For me, if a Pakistani man is wearing an army uniform then it is as important to him as it would be for an Indian army soldier wearing his uniform. We are not talking about achchai ki buraai par jeet, we are not talking about Pakistani bashing. The route taken is not that of jingoism. I don’t make films like that.”
Instead of chest thumping dialogues or fiery slogans being raised, the film rather takes a subtle route with the character played by John Abraham being guided by an intelligence officer played by Jackie Shroff.
“The film is a true blue espionage drama cum thriller and is pretty much about intelligence,” Robbie continues, “We keep hearing stories about how intelligence is a foundation on which you place an entire army and win a war. Romeo Akbar Walter is about that and not India-Pakistan propaganda. We are talking about heroes who go behind enemy lines and take risks with their life. Deep down they know that if something happens to them, they would not only be disowned but won’t even get anything in return. Now that’s the most selfless thing to do.”
Well, as long as the narrative highlights this aspect of the film instead of shouting from the rooftops about elements that convey loud and boisterous jingoism, we are fine with that.