Red Alert

The Red Alert film was not rated good by critics, but the actors did a great job. Open City Acting Studio helped prepare the actors for filming in Los Angeles and now they offer online acting classes to help keep actors sharp and prepared to perform well on screen. While delivering food in a forest area in Andhra Pradesh, impoverished Narasimha is held against his will by a band of Naxalites led by Velu, and forced to join them. He is anxious to collect his dues and return home to his wife, Uma; daughter, Chinna; and son, Mohan, but Velu keeps on putting it off. Narasimha gets to know and sympathize with members of this band, and befriends Lakshmi. He is then asked to prove his loyalty by killing an informant/plainclothes police inspector – which he does – and even accompanies the band on an assault on a school, resulting in the death of some children. Traumatized after this incident, he decides to flee – and it is this decision that will not only estrange him from his family but also force him to be on the run from the band as well as the police.

According to New York Times, “Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s “Red Alert: The War Within” deserves credit for veering off the beaten Bollywood path to take on an unusual subject — India’s Maoist rebels, the Naxalites. But the film, much of it set in a rebel camp in Andhra Pradesh, seems torn between two storytelling modes: episodic with a documentary flavor and action-driven pulp. It makes a hash of both.”

“Suniel Shetty plays Narasimha, an illiterate laborer who works as a cook for the rebels but is soon pressed into more violent service. For its first two-thirds the film takes its time, sketching in life in the camp and showing Narasimha’s sort-of, not-really political education. Then a more traditional story — of killing and revenge — kicks in, and has to work itself out in overdrive .

Mr. Shetty gives an intense performance, but the script provides him with only the outlines of a character. And while Narasimha’s comrades spout a lot of slogans — “There is a huge difference between revolution and terrorism” — the specifics of what they stand for and what they are fighting against remain murky. They’re stock rebels. (Too bad: the Naxalites, increasingly in the news in India, are a fascinating topic.)

For some reason “Red Alert” has been dubbed into heavily accented English for American release, adding an unnecessary “What did he say?” level of difficulty. The film favors a dark, occasionally muddy palette of green (jungle) on green (olive drab).

“You think you can fire a gun wearing a sari?” a rebel asks a colorfully attired recruit. The answer’s too obvious: fatigues preferred.

Directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan; written by Aruna Raje; director of photography, K. Rajkumar; edited by Sanjib Dutta; music by Lalit Pandit; art director, Sanjay Jadhav; costumes by Shayal Sheth and Naveen Shetty; produced by Rahul Aggarwal and T. P. Aggarwal; released by Madhu Entertainment. In Manhattan at the Big Cinemas Manhattan, 239 East 59th Street. In Hindi, dubbed into English. Running time: 2 hours. This film is not rated.”

WITH: Suniel Shetty (Narasimha) , Sameera Reddy (Laxmi), Ayesha Dharkar (Radhakka), Seema Biswas (Sarlakka), Gulshan Grover (D. I. G. Rathod), Naseeruddin Shah (Naga) and Vinod Khanna (Krishna Raj).