Only Science Can Win This War

Based on the book “GOING VIRAL: MAKING OF COVAXIN” of the then Director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava, the film deals with the obvious – the struggle of Indian Scientists to develop an Indigenous Vaccine right from the first frame. The film does well with what is also a doubt in the common man’s mind the Wuhan lab leak, the possible role of Chinese in waging a bio war fare, the possible role of Big Pharma trying to arm-twist nations in to patronising their product with the support of international approval bodies.

But what stands out exceptionally well is the screenplay and storytelling by the ace director Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, especially in today’s cinematic landscape often dominated by big budgets and flashy special effects, "The Vaccine War" stands out as a masterful testament to the power of storytelling and exceptional acting.

Nana Patekar as Dr Bhargava, Director General of ICMR and Pallavi Joshi as Dr Priya Abraham, head of National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune carry the film on their shoulders with ace performances making it as real and immersive as possible. Raima Sen plays the typical half-baked journalist with utmost contempt for anything Indian. The director comes tops in exposing the “Tool-Kit” brigade and how an entire cabal of left-ecosystem works at demeaning every effort of India to become self-reliant (Atmanirbharta).

Role played by Anupam Kher as Cabinet Secretary who eases the bottlenecks of approvals, monitoring progress with the scientific team gives a real feel of how the government has gone about the vaccine development without much chest thumping but putting faith back into our scientists and emphasis by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that “Only Science Can Win This War.” It is worth noting that there is not a single mention of PM’s name or clipping or even role play in the film. The film is well supported by powerful performances all-around.

The film is a tribute to all the scientists involved in the research particularly the ladies who took up the battle head on risking themselves, balancing their families, sacrificing everything to save humanity. Salute to the spirit of Nari Shakti of this great land Bharat.

Digressing a bit from the review, am but reminded of the days we coped with the pandemic, with uncertainties looming large questioning the survival of humanity. As you watch, the film is a mirror reflecting the brutality and darkness dwelling within the evil forces trying to break nations, defeat human spirit of survival and progress. Through the lens of Vaccine War, we are made acutely aware of the fragility of life, the rapid descent into chaos, and the eternal struggle between good and evil. It was a cautionary tale that left an indelible mark on our collective conscience, serving as a reminder of the importance of unity, empathy, and the power of scientific advancements in preserving our shared humanity and most importantly need for decisive dharmic leadership for nations.

I was fortunate enough to see the Vaccine Gallery setup at the National Science Centre, New Delhi in April 2023. It was an eyeopener to me as Shri N Ramdas Iyer Director of National Science Centre explained to me the various phases involved in vaccine development in great detail. Ramdas Iyer recollected his interactions with all the vaccine heroes in real life and collected artifacts, anecdotes, and experiences for the exhibition. The vaccine gallery is now moved to Nagpur and will be a mobile exhibition across the country. Throughout the film was reminded of the wonderful gallery celebrating our scientists in succeeding all the malicious campaigns.





Coming back to the film, The Vaccine War is a triumph over narratives between “India Can’t Make It” to “India Can” with the emphasis on the need of the hour “Only Science Can Win This War.” This comes to show the intent is more important for success.

In storytelling, particularly cinematic it is important to keep the focus laser sharp on the story and minimum number of characters and let the story be the hero. This is classic film making and Vivek Agnihotri has come out tops on all fronts.

Inspiration comes in many forms and in this case a 0.5ml vaccine shot called Covaxin.

Bharat will and remain a Vishwaguru.

Grandson, Husband and Father of Two, S Jaganathan - is the Founder of The Verandah Club. Convenor INTACH Coimbatore Chapter. He is an avid traveller, interested in trendspotting and a firm believer in the philosophy - Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah.

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