Genres: War, Drama


Official Website: 
Country:   India
Language:  Hindi
Release Date:  10 November 2023

Box Office

Budget:  $9,000,000

Company Credits

Production Companies:  RSVP Movies, Roy Kapur Films

Technical Specs

Runtime:  2 h 20 min

Ishaan Khatter Starrer follows the recipe exactly, yet he makes a mistake when executing it!

Ishaan Khatter and Priyanshu Painyuli, who are siblings in a complicated relationship, would have emotionally killed it if the script had done these two credit.


We have two brothers, Major Ram Mehta (Priyanshu Painyuli) and Captain Balram Singh Mehta (Ishaan Khatter), who are both in the military and committed to serving their country. The characters have stereotyped characteristics similar to every other bro-duo, with the younger brother being mischievous and the elder brother being disciplined. The brothers have the standard personalities of being “poles apart.”

Character introduction in the first act takes a long time and doesn’t include many new details. As the gear shifts, we witness Ram and Balram being mentioned in reference to the 1971 conflict between India and Pakistan over East Pakistan, which is now known as Bangladesh. Both take distinct paths and assume various responsibilities, which causes concern for their mother Soni Razdan and sister Radha (Mrunal Thakur). What transpires next becomes the main plot point.

Image from the movie "पिप्पा"
© 2023 RSVP Movies − All right reserved.

Examining the Screenplay:

Drawing inspiration from The Burning Chaffees, Captain Balram Singh Mehta’s war memoir, the script makes a valiant attempt to combine two distinct films into one, with just one of them being remotely watchable. One movie examines the flimsy emotional bonds between the individuals, while the other is a war movie that partially undoes the harm.

Based on my research, it appears that the authors of this account of Captain Balram’s story combined two significant incidents from the 1971 war—Balram Singh Mehta’s brother was a major in real life as well—with another account based on real-life occurrences. While I don’t think mixing stories is a terrible thing, at least do it in a way that makes sense. The bad writing doesn’t create any chemistry between the brothers or make you want to feel sorry for them, which makes this issue even more painful. What will be our plan of action?

Another issue is the way the movie has been dubbed “Pippa”; many people won’t understand what it means at first, and when they do, the filmmakers don’t really do anything about the tank that bears that name. There are fight scenes involving the tank, but they lack excitement due to the sloppy action choreography.

Story Overview:

Background: The 1971 Dhaka University massacre was caused by Pakistan Army forces entering the DHAKA University on March 25, 1971, and firing on personnel and students without distinction. Yahya Khan, the president of Pakistan, starts Operation Searchlight in an effort to put an end to the Bengali nationalist movement. The Pakistani Army seized thousands of Bengali women as sex slaves and slaughtered thousands more. Millions of people seek safety by crossing into India.

A young officer named Captain Balram Singh Mehta serves in the 45th Cavalry unit, which is known as “Pippa” after its PT-76 tank. He frequently runs afoul of his higher officers and has some discipline concerns. Major Ram Mehta, his older brother, is attempting to punish his younger brother. Their mother Maati lives in Delhi with the three of them, including their sister Radha Mehta.

Image from the movie "पिप्पा"
© 2023 RSVP Movies − All right reserved.

In anticipation of the impending conflict, Major Ram receives a call to a forward location one day. Because of his lack of discipline, Captain Balram is not allowed to travel to the front and is instead given a desk job, while the other members of his regiment go ahead and reach the front. Radha, in the meantime, demonstrates her proficiency with encryption and is accepted into the “Communication and Analysis Wing,” a signals intelligence unit that interprets communications from adversaries.

Under false pretenses, Major Ram is instructed to infiltrate East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and train the Mukti Bahini, providing them with operational guidance. Captain Balram successfully completes the task assigned to him to make certain changes to the PT-76 tank. His inventiveness impresses Army Chief General Sam Manekshaw, who orders him to join his regiment on the front lines while on an inspection tour.

Mukti Bahini is successfully led by Major Ram in several missions against the Pakistan Army. But he is taken prisoner during one of the raids. Taken to a camp, he undergoes torture in order to extract information. He is able to withstand the torment, though, and he withholds his identity and all other details.

Image from the movie "पिप्पा"
© 2023 RSVP Movies − All right reserved.

In the Battle of Garibpur, Captain Balram’s regiment and the 14th Punjab battalion cross the border and fight Pakistani forces. Major Daljit “Chiefy” Singh Narang, Captain Balram’s senior officer and squadron leader, is killed in action during the engagement, forcing Captain Balram to take over as commander. Captain Balram leads his unit to victory with success.

Not long later, he gets a call from Radha informing him that Major Ram is missing in action according to intelligence sources. By coincidence, he learns that one Indian Army officer is being held captive at a certain location from a Bengali officer who has been taken in Pakistan and has rebelled against the Pakistan Army.

Additionally, Radha decodes a signal from Pakistan indicating that the US Seventh Fleet is en route to East Pakistan in an attempt to intervene on behalf of Pakistan. This increases the urgency with which India must conduct its operations in order to win and force Pakistan to submit before US ships are able to approach within striking range.

The Mukti Bahini, who is contacted by Captain Balram’s regiment, offers to guide them to the camp where Major Ram is being imprisoned. Major Ram’s would-be executioner is about to be shot for withholding information, but the Mukti Bahini rebels arrive just in time to stop him. After a bloody battle, the Pakistani camp is taken and many Bengali women who were being kept as sex slaves are set free. Captain Balram’s tank battalion also arrives. Captain Balram and Major Ram are also reconciled.

The Pakistan Army submitted soon after, and Bangladesh gained its independence. Radha, Major Ram, and Captain Balram head back to their mother’s house.

Star Studded Performance:

I’ve always thought that Ishaan Khatter is a talented actor, but this one became too repetitive for him. You will get the feeling that something is missing the entire time you are watching him play this naughty military officer. Although he does a good job, “Chalne firne ka tareeka thoda casual hai… Better, toh face pe smile hota hota. Jokes aside, I recognize that Ishaan had to downplay Balram Singh Mehta’s portrayal of him because it wasn’t a fully developed army man during that period of his life, but overall elegance is still lacking.

Image from the movie "पिप्पा"
© 2023 RSVP Movies − All right reserved.

In addition to having a more mature older brother role than Ishaan, Priyanshu Painyuli is also a phenomenal performer, which helps him do a better job of being a soldier. As brothers in a complicated relationship, these two would have emotionally killed it, and I wish the writing had done them credit. Rather, the narrative essentially centers on the elder brother’s heartfelt admission that the cigarette box their parents found belonged to him. The younger brother responds, “I knew so!” to this admission.

Image from the movie "पिप्पा"
© 2023 RSVP Movies − All right reserved.

There seems to be a problem with Mrunal Thakur reading the scripts for her roles before filming them, starting with Aankh Micholi and continuing with this. Radha has no background information and is quite ambiguous. She was selected by a covert organization that aids in deciphering code language and spying on adversaries since she studied cryptography in college. She joins, completes everything correctly, and the story ends with no character arc. They decipher a message in a scene when they discuss Baba Budan, who brought coffee to India by sneaking seven coffee beans from Yemen. Why is this sequence so random?

Soni Razdan is just there; she’s an emotional mother with whom, however, you cannot empathize. Though they are excellent performers, Balli’s pals and seniors, portrayed by Chandrachoor Rai “Chiefy” & Anuj Singh Duhan “Speedy,” say and do all the things that normal army guys say and do. In a small, insignificant scene (that really ought to have been written and acted better), Flora David Jacob (Indira Gandhi) and Kamal Sadanah as Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (wait until you see Vicky Kaushal play this part in Sam Bahadur) talk about war strategy.

The Last Word:

All in all, Ishaan Khatter’s Pippa is a perfect example of having all the proper ingredients but mishandling the recipe’s execution to produce a dish that is just somewhat pleasant despite having all the appropriate elements—rather than being noticeably undercooked.

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