The story starts in the year 2020 when the entire nation grapples with the devastating Coronavirus pandemic. During this period, an imposter posing as a doctor is apprehended by the police, triggering memories of the outbreak’s origins. Fans flashback to the pre-lockdown era, where Dr. Balram Bhargava, portrayed by Nana Patekar, serves as the Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). He assembles a formidable team of experts to delve into the virus’s intricacies and seek a cure.
Meanwhile, Rohini Singh Dhulia, played by Raima Sen and hailing from The Indian Wire, remains skeptical about India’s capacity to develop a vaccine independently. She advocates for importing vaccines from foreign sources. This sets the stage for a heated competition between ICMR and those advocating for international vaccines. Amidst these rivalries, the ICMR faces numerous challenges in its quest to emerge victorious.
The Vaccine War Review
The narrative and screenplay of “The Vaccine War” draw inspiration from Dr. Balram Bhargava’s book, “Going Viral.” The storyline primarily revolves around the struggles of Indian scientists striving to create the country’s first indigenous vaccine. While certain aspects are omitted, given the film’s title, one might have expected a more prominent political undertone in the story.
The focus remains firmly on vaccine development and the challenges encountered in saving lives by producing a homegrown vaccine. This aspect is portrayed convincingly on screen. However, the conflict between the media and ICMR could have been explored in greater depth, as it comes across as somewhat overly dramatic.
Nana Patekar not only portrays the real-life hero but also emerges as the reel hero of The Vaccine War. His portrayal of Dr. Balram Bhargava exudes confidence and no-nonsense determination, showcasing his seasoned acting prowess.
Pallavi Joshi delivers a subtle yet impactful performance as Priya Abraham, providing solid support to the ensemble cast. Nivedita Gupta (Girija Oak) and Pragya Yadav (Nivedita Bhattacharya) also hold their own, committing fully to their respective character arcs.
Vivek Agnihotri, known for “The Kashmir Files,” demonstrates the power of tackling controversial subjects to capture the audience’s attention. “The Vaccine War” presents a real-life story that sheds light on how the lockdown wasn’t just about staying home for some individuals. Their actions played a pivotal role in hastening our return to normalcy.
The Vaccine War’s background score, unlike the dramatic score of “The Kashmir Files,” is more subdued, aligning well with the narrative’s requirements. It effectively complements the film without overpowering it. The reimagining of Vanraj Bhatia’s “Nasadiya Sukta,” borrowed from Shyam Benegal’s TV series “Bharat Ek Khoj,” which references hymns from the Rig Veda, adds an immersive and haunting dimension to the overall ambiance.