The Vaccine War
Director: Vivek Agnihotri
Star cast: Nana Patekar, Pallavi Joshi, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Anupam Kher, Girija Oak, Sapthami Gowda, Raima Sen, Mohan Kapur
The Vaccine War review
Based on India’s battle against COVID-19, The Vaccine War is based on Dr. Balram Bhargava’s book Going Viral. The movie focuses on the efforts of the medical department that they took to overcome the global crisis. The scientists were battling two wars – one with the novel virus and one with the false narratives set by the media. As the scientists were busy creating their indigenous vaccine for the country, they were also fighting with unnecessary hate and rejection from people. It is a story of how India triumphs over every odd and creates India’s own vaccine ‘Covaxin’ during the pandemic.
What’s best about The Vaccine War
The science: I’m usually quite amused when people talk about science or scientific things. Not that I was a science student but there are certain topics that fascinate me. Well, a similar thing happened with The Vaccine War they were explaining the virus and its nature. They showed it quite beautifully which was pretty informative.
The process of vaccine: No one has seen the process of how the vaccines are made. I absolutely enjoyed the part when they started creating their own vaccine. From understanding the virus to testing on animals, it left me intrigued, to be honest.
What didn’t work for The Vaccine War
Was the story incomplete? Somewhere I felt the story was half-baked and it was brought out in a hurry. I am saying this because in some places I felt that certain questions are still being unanswered. I liked how Vivek started his story from the early rise of the novel where he highlighted its origin. Yes, we all have heard so many stories and so many different sides of stories. However, Vivek revealed how it all started with the Wuhan sea market but there was no more detail on it.
Even if it was reverse engineering or a lab leak, I wish we had known more about it rather than showing what’s already in the news and reports. I wanted to know about how it started affecting humans, how the virus was named Coronavirus, the death numbers, the survivals, and the tests on humans. I feel a lot of things were not touched upon.
Scientists VS Media: As I have mentioned above, it feels like the war was between the media and the scientists rather than the virus. Yes, there were multiple media trials during the pandemic and the government was constantly blamed for poor management and infrastructure. And yes, those things need to be highlighted but not make it the main plot of the story.
Nana Patekar packs a solid performance in the movie. He essays the role of the Head of ICMR Dr. Balram Bhargava. His character is someone who is stern and only lives by his rules and principles. Basically, he is a boss you don’t want in your real life but he is a great leader and a person. With so many flaws, Nana Patekar manages to make his character likeable, all thanks to his stellar portrayal.
Pallavi Joshi essays the role of Dr. Priya Abraham, one of the scientists. She delivers a strong and demanding performance. What I really liked about her performance was how she changed her accent. Yes, it is well known that she is a fantastic actor but after watching the movie, I got to know how she can go deep into her character as well. She amazed me with her performance as well as the dialect of a South-Indian Christian person.
Raima Sen plays the antagonist in the movie as Rohini Singh Dhulia- science editor of The Daily Wire. She is a journalist whose constant aim is to bring down India and its vaccine while promoting foreign vaccines. Talking about her performance, it seems like Raima was trying too hard to sound like a vamp and act like a villain. It clearly shows that yes she hearted her dialogue when she was delivering it. It didn’t come out naturally and it was a put off.
He plays the Prime Minister in the movie who is shown in a limited screen time. He demands all the attention even with less screen space.
Girija Oak who was also in Jawan looked so full of energy but looked quite dull to me in The Vaccine War. She is a great actor; however, her energy level was zero as Dr. Nivedita. Yes, during the scenes when she is relentlessly working for the vaccine, I can understand the zero energy. However, during other scenes, it seems like Girija looks disinterested.
Nivedita Bhattacharya, Sapthami Gowda and Mohan Kapur have also delivered an impactful performance in the Vaccine War. Even as supporting cast, they have contributed significantly to their parts. Also, Mohan looked unrecognisable as Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, the look was commendable.
Concluding my review of The Vaccine War, Vivek Agnihotri makes a decent attempt at showing an untold story of unsung heroes but with a tad bit of drama which was unnecessary in the movie. It could have been explored more and could have shown more in detail; however, it seemed like the scientists were having a fight with the false narratives that the media was setting.
Watch the trailer of The Vaccine War after the review