Mahesh Manjrekar on ‘1962: The Conflict within the Hills’: Wished to indicate emotional aspect of troopers

Mumbai, February 15

In his upcoming directorial “1962: The War In The Hills”, actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar on Monday said he has attempted to showcase the humane side of soldiers who risk their lives to protect the country.

The Disney+ Hotstar series, fronted by actor Abhay Deol, is set against the backdrop of the 1962 India-China War. It narrates the untold tale of bravery and valour of Army of 125 Indians who fought with 3,000 Chinese soldiers.

During a virtual press conference, Manjrekar said he was fascinated with the show’s setting and connected with it “emotionally”.

“The show is about those 125 soldiers who fought the war. They all had families back home, so we wanted to show their personal lives. Soldiers are like us, but the only difference is that they are ready to sacrifice their lives so that we are safe.

“We needed that element, their emotions needed to be out. We concentrated more on the human angle. There is war too, but we also put spotlight on those who laid down their lives,” the 62-year-old actor-director said.

The 10-part series also features “Sairat” star Aakash Thosar, Sumeet Vyas, Rohan Gandotra, Mahie Gill, Meiyang Chang, Rochelle Rao and Hemal Ingle.

Manjrekar, known for helming films like Sanjay Dutt-starrer “Vaastav” and “Astitva”, said the series gave him an opportunity to helm a war epic, a territory he hadn’t explored before.

The director said the 1962 War was not only a historic event but also a part of the “development of the country”.

“We were a young nation and this was the first major war. We were fighting an enemy who was 10 times bigger. It was an extraordinary motivation to jump and take the opportunity. When the series came (to me), I felt fortunate,” he added.

Gill, who was last seen in the Bhumi Pednekar-led film “Durgamati”, features on the show as a wife of a soldier.

The actor said “1962: The War In The Hills” offers an insight on the emotionally difficult lives of those who are left behind when soldiers are called for duty.

“She (the character) is a brave woman who understands that the Army life comes with pleasure and pain. She understands her husband is a soldier first. Army wives sacrifice a lot, we need to salute them because no matter what, they always put up a brave face.

“It’s so important for them to be strong when they know their husbands have gone to a sensitive area, without knowing if they’d ever return. They double up as both father and mother for their children,” she said.

The show is set to premiere on February 26. PTI

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