Bangladesh came into being after a war with West Pakistan which claimed hundreds of thousands lives. In the later part of the nine-month war, India intervened and using military diplomacy, forced Pakistan to comply with a ceasefire. Mukti (birth of a nation) 2017 is a short docudrama released in YouTube, which deals with the eve of ceasefire and how both parties engaged in the negotiation process. It also shows the valiance of Mukti Bahini and the fear they unfurled upon Pakistan military. Jabir Misbah writes about the movie.
30 minutes is all you have- this was the ultimatum provided by major general JFR Jacob of India to Pakistan Army Chief, AAK Niazi on the eve of the surrender signed by Pakistan on 1971, which led to the birth of our country, Bangladesh. In the short film named ‘Mukti’, the negotiation scenes of Pakistan’s surrender are portrayed to perfection. This short film depicts the birth of our country and the closure of an Indian sub-continent crisis of the twentieth century.
Mukti, the short film is a docudrama, which shows the viewer the facts of our liberation war. This short film is available on YouTube and has amassed over 1.5 million views since its uploading date of 14th August, 2017. The short film is written by Manu Chobe and was published by Sony LIV. It stars experienced actors namely Milind Soman, acting as the fearless soldier and immaculate negotiator, General Jack Jacobs and Yashpal Sharma as the Pakistani army chief Niazi, to give the film its acting vigor. It has been applauded by both the community of Bangladesh and India as a historically accurate representation. Uday Sodhi, EVP and head – digital business, Sony Pictures Networks said, ‘This short film is our tribute to the unsung heroes, who risked their lives to fight in the 1971 war’.
So, what is the story line? The story sets itself days before our independence, when Jack Jacobs, the then major general of the Indian Army is tasked with the negotiation of a ceasefire with the Pakistan Army boss Niazi under the UN regulation. Back then West Pakistan were oppressing East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh, politically, economically and culturally. East Pakistan was being deprived of the political and social rights that they were promised they could exercise. Instead the Pakistani Army led a massive attack on the eve of March 25, 1971 on millions of civilians which is historically known as ‘Operation Searchlight’.
After that, the Pakistani Army led on a fully fledged war of nine months, plundering the riches of Bengal, abusing the women and killing the intellectuals on sight. This forced the innocent civilians to come out of their shells and form an army called ‘Mukti Bahini’, which was formed by students, military officials, farmers and people from every sphere of lives. The nine -month war procured losses on both sides as the Mukti Bahini regularly launched attacks based on a tactic known as ‘Guerilla Warfare’. In spite of lack of proper firearms and protection, the Mukti Bahini waged a massive comeback, which was denoted in this short film- ‘They (Mukti) will come at you with their knives and pickaxes’.
This signifies the courage and zeal that Bangladeshis had for a free country. But with the inception of the 9th month of the war, on 4th December, 1971, The United States of America provided their support to West Pakistan, which had such an impact on the war that the UN had to intervene and call a ceasefire. At that moment, General Jack Jacobs was tasked with signing the ceasefire, but he had his own mind games and strategies to play. The docudrama goes on to showcase how the General ‘reasoned’ with his counterpart, giving him the facts and standing of the war with a cold-eyed stare and nonchalant demeanor.
The film starts with old clips of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Wherein Sheikh Mujib speaks against the violence of Pakistan, Indira Gandhi states that India will not lay low and let the atrocities and violence take place in front of their eyes, to which Ali Bhutto accused India of being a ‘predatory aggressor’. After the scene shifts to a military camp and henceforth the movie start revealing its story.
This 17-minute short film depicts how a single person with his mind can change the course of a war. General Jack Jacobs may not have actively participated in our liberation war, but the role that he played in the signing of the surrender was and will always remain undeniable. In this movie, it can be seen as to how he frightened the Pakistani Army by stating the strength of the Mukti Bahini and the reinforcement the Indian army has provided them. He shows his diplomatic competency by stating the war has only two outcomes, either for the Pakistani Army to surrender or to have more blood on their hands.
To me, the best part of the movie is the diplomacy skill portrayed by Jacob’s character, which ultimately leads to the breakdown of Niazi’s ego. The way he compelled Niazi to realise that the Mukti Bahini will not stop until every single dead Bengali live is avenged, until every woman were restored their honor, until every child was told that their fathers and brothers did not die for a failed cause and until every single blood drop was accounted for, was emotionally very uplifting. The only part of the movie I does not like is that it fails to provide historical proof of the facts it provided in its dialogues, which feels like a gap. But other than that, when you are in need of some inspiration, you can watch it.
The short film portrays the ardor and mental strength of Bangladeshi people for their freedom, who were oppressed and repressed for two decades since the Partition of 1947. It is a must watch film for every Bangladeshi to understand the fear that we can strike upon the enemy with our vigilance and hard-work.
Jabir Misbah is a story teller and knowledge enthusiast.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Art Culture