The web series 1962: The War In The Hills is the story of 125 Indian soldiers who fought 3,000 Chinese soldiers. Come February 26, you can watch not only the fighting prowess of the valiant men but also their humane side.
A reminder of the immense bravery of our armed forces, 1962: The War In The Hills, helmed by Mahesh Manjrekar, has an ensemble cast, including Abhay Deol, Mahie Gill, Sumeet Vyas, Rohan Gandotra, Meiyang Chang, Akash Thosar, Hemal Ingle and Rochelle Rao.
“It’s not an ordinary show, but one with many firsts,” says its producer Ajay Chacko. “We haven’t treated the series as an OTT show but three feature films rolled into one. It took us about two-and-half years from the inception to finish,” he begins. That the action is mounted by internationally acclaimed Don Lee known for stunts in films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Trek; and that Hitesh Modak has composed seven songs sung by some of the best voices in India—Sukhwinder Singh, Vijay Prakash, Salman Ali, Shailey Bidwaikar and Shahjan Mujeeb among others, makes it a stunning spectacle, he says. Though the cast cannot praise their director enough, Manjrekar takes the humble road. “You know, shooting wasn’t difficult because major work was accomplished by Charu (Charudutt Acharya), who has beautifully captured not only the war but also the personal lives of the soldiers.”
Interestingly, many in the cast dreamt of donning the olive green. “I know what the soldiers go through as well as their families,” says Mahie, who was once selected for the armed forced and it was an accident during the training that shattered her dream.
Akash Thosar of Sairat fame was another aspirant for the Army. “I appeared for the selection process twice but it was not to be. When I donned the uniform on the first day of the shoot, I was filled with pride and kept saluting myself.” Sumeet Vyas shared how they were asked to shoot in the cold conditions in a sweater. “When I said the costumes were inadequate for such cold weather, I was told that it was all our soldiers could afford, and some didn’t even have that.”
Awe for those soldiers who put everything behind to serve the nation is what united the cast. Meiyang Chang says, “To be honest, I would have rather played a part in the Indian Army. But Manjrekar sir gave a villain such a grand entry and for that I would forever be grateful.”
Don Lee too had lots of fun. Manjrekar quips, “It did take a bit to come to terms with the way war sequences are shot in Hollywood vis-à-vis here. But by day three, Lee and I were on the same page. By then Don was also eating spicy food using his hands.”
1962: The War in the Hills will release exclusively on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Disney+ Hotstar Premium