Pippa is the brand-new Amazon Prime original, which trudges around the genres of war and coming-of-age drama. There is a lot of realism in the narrative, even though the screenplay had issues when it came to certain aspects of character development. Pippa is also about sibling dynamics amidst the East Pakistan war. This article will take the readers through what led to the war and how these siblings found their way back to each other.
Pippa begins with Captain Balram Mehta’s voiceover narrating the history of East Pakistan, which involved constant conflict with West Pakistan over the question of language and lack of recognition for the Bengali population. This constant tussle between the two parts of the same country occurred mainly because of the geographical divide as well. It also caused widespread political upheaval, which forced the West Pakistani army to intervene.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was one of the prominent leaders from East Pakistan whose speeches led to the demand for a separate state. This was followed by a widespread revolution among students and others alike. The Pakistani Army’s method to squash the rebellion involved numerous atrocities, which forced many from East Pakistan to take refuge in India. There was a genocide being carried out to squash the rebellion against Yahya Khan’s dictatorship. The refugee influx caused a big issue, which forced the Indian government to intervene and find a solution to the problem.
What Is Pippa?
Pippa, in Punjabi, means a can of ghee that could easily float on the surface of water. PT-76 was the amphibian tank the Indian army had purchased from the Russians at the dawn of the imminent war with the neighboring nation on the eastern side. Since East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) is surrounded by water bodies, these land-to-water tanks would be handy during combat. Since the machine could smoothly float on shallow waters, it was given the nickname “Pippa”. Captain Balram Mehta of the 45th Cavalry oversaw one such tank, but to test the vehicle, he disobeyed a direct order and drove the machine into deep waters. Things didn’t go as planned, and Balram’s rebellious act cost him disciplinary action that stopped his dream of going into combat.
Where Were Balram And Ram Sent?
Captain Balram’s elder brother, Major Ram Mehta, a 1965 war hero, was livid at his younger brother for his careless acts. The brothers share love, but they do not get along because of their different ideologies towards life. Ram followed a strict regime for himself, and he wanted Balram to take his job seriously. Their father served in the army and perished during the 1947 war, and Ram expects his younger brother to respect his father’s martyrdom. Major Ram was sent to the field as an undercover agent to work with Mukti Bahini, a guerilla resistance group that was fighting against the Pakistani army.
Balram, on the other hand, was punished by the disciplinary committee and was assigned to carry out paperwork, which was mostly a desk job. Balram was used to being in combat, and this work, he assumed, was rusting his skills. Balram was finally asked to work on the PT-76 tank, and he converted a three-seater machine into a four-seater. His skills with the war tank impressed the chief of staff, Sam Manekshaw, and he immediately ordered Captain Balram to be sent to the combat front on the eastern side of the country. Captain Balram turned out to be a resourceful and resilient army officer who would do anything to be on the field. Balram always knew he was meant to be at the border. His intelligence was the reason he was again considered for the battle, and he was looking forward to it.
What was Radha’s Work At The Communication And Analysis Wing?
Radha was a cryptography enthusiast who was picked out from her college by her professor’s son, who worked for the Communications and Analysis wing that deciphered codes as part of the intelligence work. Since she had joined on with the R&AW, she could not reveal her work to anyone. Her work with the analysis team helped them crack many codes, which was essential for the battle. One of them was about the Pakistani army’s movement towards the borders. The second time, she intercepted the news of the American army’s Seventh Fleet discreet arrival into Indian waters. Radha turned out to be a big asset to the analysis wing because all her work was beneficial for intelligence as well as the army on the ground. Radha was only aware of Balram’s presence at the border, but she had no clue where Ram had disappeared. Radha, just like her brothers, was contributing to the war effort. In those days, women were not allowed to join the army. Her contribution as a cryptography analyst helped form a defense against the Pakistani army.
What Led To The First Combat?
Army chief Sam Manekshaw acquired permission to enter the enemy territory discreetly, which would provoke the Pakistani army to attack them indiscriminately, projecting them as aggressors to the international media. Army Chief Manekshaw’s attack went as planned, and the Indian army ended up winning a fierce battle inside the enemy area. The chief of the operation got shot and died, and Balram ended up taking over his position and winning their army a crucial win.
Right before losing his chief in combat, Balram and he had a heart-to-heart about the boots he stole from his brother, for originally, they belonged to their deceased father. Balram, unlike what others think, cares about his legacy, and he wanted to make his brother and father proud. He was a non-conformist for many, especially his family, but he cared about the work he did. He joined the Indian army to achieve glory for the country he served.
Was Major Ram Captured?
Unfortunately, Major Ram was severely injured in the covert operation when the Mukti Bahini camp was attacked by the Pakistani army. He was captured alive by the enemy army, and many were sure he was not a Bengali. Major Ram insisted he was an opium dealer from Rawalpindi, which was essentially his hometown, as mentioned by his mother at the beginning of the film. The Pakistani army, along with a Bengali informer, knew of the presence of an Indian army officer with the rebel group. They suspected that Ram was the person they were looking for. The Pakistani army was keen on capturing the Indian army officer as a POW, which they would use as leverage during negotiations, but luck was never in their favor.
Major Ram was trained for this eventuality, and he was aware the enemy army would get rid of him once they extracted the information they needed. Major Ram’s only aim was to escape the POW camp. Fortunately, he was saved by one of the members of the Mukti Bahini. During his escape he came across many women being held captive in the same place as him. This paints an ugly picture of the enemy army. It is believed that the army raped, assaulted, and killed many Bengali women during the war. Many women were treated as slaves after being kidnapped from their homes for rebelling against the ruling government in East Pakistan.
Radha was made aware by her colleagues of Ram being missing in action and was quick to inform Balram about it. Balram had also come across a deserter from the Pakistani army who informed him about a captured Indian officer. Balram’s hands were tied because the actual plans of his battalion changed when the new chief took over. He wanted to tap into his rebellious side and dare to do something to rescue his brother. Since all of them were in the middle of a war, an erratic move would put the entire mission in jeopardy. Ram wouldn’t have wanted his younger brother to take any actions that would put their battalion in danger. The Indian army was marching forward, and Captain Balram wanted to follow the orders, unlike before.
How Did Captain Balram Save His Brother?
Captain Balram’s battalion was headed toward Burinda, but through a cross-country route, as per the intelligence. Unbeknownst to them, the route was filled with landmines, and Mukti Bahini again came to their rescue. After this crisis, what lay ahead of them was a monstrous river. This was the first time the army used Pippa. Their movement to Burinda was based on the tip received about the arrival of the American seventh fleet, which would destroy the Indian army in no time. This also paints a picture of the politics of the 1970s, when the United States of America was Pakistan’s biggest ally. They were aiding them in carrying out a genocide in East Pakistan and helping them fight the war against India. On reaching Burinda, a fierce battle takes place between the enemy and the Indian army. The Indian army managed to destroy all tanks.
Ram was able to spot his brother charging into the attack and discreetly helped him get rid of the enemy truck and an aircraft. Balram was shocked to see his brother alive and severely battered after being released from the torture camp. The information he received was accurate, and Balram was relieved that they reached Burinda on time. Ram, on the other hand, didn’t need anyone to rescue him. He was a trained military officer, and he managed to get himself out of the harrowing situation.
The brothers did not have any dramatic moments between them. Ram and Balram were just glad to find each other alive. Ram was glad to see a new, improved Balram. They’d had a falling out before heading out to combat. Balram felt guilty ever since and was anxious that he wouldn’t be able to find his brother in Burinda. The movie ends with all three of them returning home as a unit. There will still be issues to tackle. No family was always happy, but seeing both her sons alive, the mother was elated. We assume Radha did not revealed her line of work, and her family is kept in the dark about her role in saving both her brothers.
Pippa‘s end credits scene explains how the war was won which marked the inception of an independent country, Bangladesh. The enemy army, within a few days of Indian forces entering their territory, surrendered, and a treaty was signed that declared the formation of a new country with Dhaka as the capital city. The Indian army and intelligence were lauded for carrying out the operation with absolute finesse. This part of the history is never discussed in detail by the main Hindi filmmakers. There might be many Bengali films that have delved into this subject, but the history of the Bangladesh Liberation War should be realistically presented to the commercial audience, just like the makers of Pippa did.