State Of Siege – Temple Attack Review: Akshaye Khanna’s film does not give any new discussion, but does not bore either

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New Delhi

As a sequel to its series ‘State of Siege’ on terrorist incidents, ZEE5 has come up with ‘State of Siege – Temple Attack’. While ‘State of Siege-26/11’ was an 8-episode web series based on the Mumbai attacks, ‘Temple Attack’ is said to be inspired by the 2002 terror attack on the Akshardham temple in Ahmedabad.

However, Temple Attack is not just a film on a terrorist incident, but it is a hostage drama and suffice to say, set in the backdrop of the Akshardham temple attack. However, in the disclaimer, it has been described as a film inspired by ‘a true incident’. Nowhere has it been claimed that the film is inspired by or based on the Akshardham temple incident. That is why, in the film, Akshardham temple has been referred to as Krishna Dham temple and the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Manish Choksi.

The way the plot of ‘State of Siege – Temple Attack’ has been changed and the way the story is presented, it could have been shown in any background. There was no need to even say it was inspired by true events. However, despite all the ‘cliches’ of formula films, the State of Siege-Temple Attack holds on and some scenes from the NSG operation manage to thrill.

The film begins in 2001 at an unknown location in the Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir, where some terrorists are hiding. NSG Major Hanoot Singh with his unit has been asked to keep a watch on them till help arrives. Seeing the delay, Hanoot attacks the terrorist hideout, from where a girl is rescued.

The commandos are on their way back when the infamous terrorist Abu Hamza and his right hand Bilal Naikoo reach there. There is a shootout between the NSG team and the terrorists. Major Hanut decides to capture him. Naiko is injured in the attack and is caught. Hamza escapes. Major Hanut himself is badly injured. A commando loses his life, whom Hanoot considers his friend. This incident continues to haunt him. The story moves forward a few months. Information comes in NSG’s camp at Manesar that terrorists are eyeing the Chief Minister’s Investors Meet in Gujarat.

CO Col MS Nagar wants to give the responsibility of Chief Minister’s security to Major Samar Chauhan. He has some hesitation regarding Major Hanoot in view of past events. But, Samar is about to become a father. Therefore, on the insistence of Major Hanut, he is given the command of this mission.

CO Nagar and Major Hanoot reach Ahmedabad with the unit and take care of the security of the Chief Minister. On the other hand, Hamza sends his four boys on a mission with full preparation. The four terrorists enter the Krishna Dham temple. They shoot indiscriminately and kill people. Handler Hamza meanwhile tells the people to take them hostage instead of killing them, because that is the real purpose. Freeing terrorist Naikoo in exchange for hostages.

The next story is based on the encounter between NSG commandos and terrorists in the temple. How are the hostages freed? Major Hanoot, who lost his friend and fellow officer in a similar operation, will be able to wash his scar this time? Do the terrorists succeed in getting Naikoo released? All these questions form the outline of the next part of the film.

As I said earlier, the State of Siege- Temple Attack follows a lot of the worn-out formulas of Bollywood movies. It seems very childish and dramatic to get a Muslim character preaching religion and brotherhood in the middle of the attack to terrorists who came to another country with a shroud on their heads only to create terror.

After reaching Ahmedabad, on the way from the railway station to the temple, the terrorists saw the statue of Gandhiji. There was no need for such scenes in the mood of the film. If such discourse had to be shown, then other ways could be thought of. The words spoken by the lord of the temple in the film’s climax scenes – violence cannot be the answer to every question – certainly impress.

Temple Attack is scripted by foreign writers William Borthwick and Simon Fanarazzo, while dialogues are by Farhan Salaruddin. The focus of the film is on showing the action of NSG commandos, due to which the emotional scenes of the hostages inside the temple do not leave an impact.

The depth of emotion is not visible in these scenes, which should be in such a hostage situation. Few of the action sequences of NSG have managed to create excitement. The scene of Vivek Dahiya’s character hurling a hand grenade at the terrorist without taking out a pin is hilarious. The action sequences are well shot by Ken Ghosh with the help of cinematographer.

Another feature of the film is that no attempt has been made to forcefully portray any character as a hero. Even if it is Akshay Kumar’s character Major Hanoot Singh. This could also be because the screenwriters are foreigners, where Bollywood style heroism is rarely seen.