On Republic Day along with the ritual display of military might during the annual parade in Delhi, Disney+Hotstar released the first look of 1962 The War In The Hills, about the bravery of 125 men who fought 3000 Chinese, ceding territory. Starring Abhay Deol, the colours look drained to resemble the chilly mountains where the soldiers are stationed, where temperatures are frigid, and heating, drinking and movement is extremely hard. It’s not just a battle against a foreign enemy, but against conditions deemed impossible to survive in.
Probal Dasgupta, a veteran of the Indian army noted in his book Watershed 1967: India’s Forgotten Victory Over China, “The dismal defeat dealt a cruel blow to the pride of a grand old civilization and a newly independent country born fifteen years earlier. The impact of that defeat still lingers in Indian thinking about the dangers of antagonizing China.”
It is this impact that the show wants to bring forth, focusing on the fight instead of the loss. This is a prescient reminder given the encroachments of China and the immanence of war where Indian soldiers are at a geographic and logistical disadvantage. Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, the show premieres on Disney+Hotstar on February 26th.