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The Vaccine War: Story of the triumph of India’s scientists over COVID-19 and the Left’s treachery in undermining indigenously made vaccine

'The Vaccine War' movie is based on a book named 'Going Viral' which has been authored by Prof Balram Bhargava. It seeks to dispel misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine by highlighting the contributions of unsung heroes, frontline workers, and tenacious scientists who worked nonstop for months to develop Covaxin, India's domestic COVID-19 vaccine.

Recalling the dreadful chapters from the year 2020 when the spread of novel coronavirus in India killed several lives, affected many businesses, and derailed the normal routine lives of almost all is difficult. I am sure nobody wants to revisit the site from 2020 and 2021 to see thousands of people struggling for basics like food, oxygen, and hospital facilities as the Chinese virus managed to spread the fear of death in the eyes of all worldwide. But Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, the marvellous director who earlier amazed audiences with movies like ‘The Kashmir Files’ and ‘The Tashkent Files’ has made an attempt to bring the truth of the terrible Chinese virus through his recently released movie named ‘The Vaccine War’.

While several governments all over the world struggled to save the number of dying lives due to COVID-19 which had reached up to a lakh per day, India in a bid to become self-reliant attempted to develop a vaccine made in India which ultimately proved the capabilities of Indian scientists who believed that India, too, can have its own vaccine and not rely on of foreign organizations.

A still captured from the movie

Based on a Book named ‘Going Viral’ by Dr Balram Bhargava

‘The Vaccine War’ movie is based on a book named ‘Going Viral’ which has been authored by Prof Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It seeks to dispel misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine by highlighting the contributions of unsung heroes, frontline workers, and tenacious scientists who worked nonstop for months to develop Covaxin, India’s domestic COVID-19 vaccine.

The movie staring the legendary actor Nana Patekar as Dr Balram Bhargava, and actress Pallavi Joshi, Girija Oak Godbole, Kantara fame Sapthami Gowda, and Nivedita Bhattacharya in roles of other scientists, is divided into small chapters. The movie begins with, of course, the showcase of fear of the COVID-19 spread- fear amongst the scientists who saw the upcoming havoc at first, fear amongst the administrative authorities who imposed strict regulations after the government declared the lockdown, and fear amongst the people who had no idea what they were going to have to face to.

When all of us were asked to be locked at home, little did any of us have any idea about what and how the Indian government and the scientists were going through to save the lives of its subjects. The scientists at the ICMR were approached and ordered by the government to develop vaccines that were tried and tested and trustworthy, unlike foreign vaccines. The ICMR, the Institute of Virology in Maharashtra’s Pune, and the Bharat Biotech then worked together to make India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine within 38 days.

Movie calls out at anti-India agenda spread by leftists, liberals

Amid this, many of the left-liberal, so-called secular figures, and media persons ran propaganda against India’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus. They questioned the government over the self-developed vaccine and also incited fear in the minds of the people against the dose. The left-liberal cabal promoted foreign vaccines in the country and demeaned the Indian government asking how could India develop the solution within just 38 days without any ‘expertise’.

Clearly, some of the anti-India, ‘liberal’ media houses received funds from foreign organizations to demoralize the Indian government and promote Chinese or American cures in the country, which could possibly be the biggest market for vaccines. The very recent case exposing a similar nexus is that of the Newsclick, whose office has been sealed by the Delhi Police after raids at the residence of its founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and HR Amit Chakravarty. The two were arrested by the Police under UAPA while places of all those associated with the ‘media’ firm were raided.

The raids happened after a report published by The New York Times exposed the ties of an American businessman with the Chinese government and his financial support to an Indian leftist propaganda outlet, NewsClick. A millionaire named Neville Roy Singham was funding several news publications across the world (including India) to peddle Chinese propaganda

During the COVID-19 spread, it was reported how Prabir Purkayastha and the NewsClick team were introduced to Chinese handlers by American businessman Neville Roy Singham for defending China’s handling of COVID-19.

The email exchanges dated March 30, 2020, on China’s handling of COVID-19 between Prabir and Singham were shared by Zee News journalist Sudhir Chaudhary, days after New York Times investigation said that Singham was using its network of nonprofits and media organizations spread across the world to propagate Chinese propaganda.

In the email exchanges shared by Sudhir Chaudhary, Roy is seen introducing the NewsClick team to the Chinese handlers based out of China to provide information that would help them show China in a positive light in handling the coronavirus outbreak.

Vivek Agnihotri, in the movie, exposes such ‘media’ homes who had said that ‘India could never develop vaccine’ and would fail at saving crores of lives. Dialogues in the movie like ‘We can fight this war with science’, ‘This is not a bio war, this is info war’, and ‘India can do it’, showcase how much intellect and strength India gathered to make the country’s first indigenous vaccine.

Agnihotri makes an attempt to hail women scientists

The Vaccine War attempts to introduce us to the lives of scientists in some of its scenes. It hails the women scientists who looked after their daily responsibilities and worked hard to isolate the virus and then develop a cure to that.

The development of Covaxin by Bharat Biotech in partnership with the ICMR and National Institute of Virology (NIV) is detailed in a lengthy sequence. Agnihotri meanwhile doesn’t let go of human emotions, not even in the research labs. The scientists are shown getting angry when pressured by the seniors, excited when a breakthrough occurs, powerless when findings are delayed, and emotional on realizing that all are suffering through difficult times. This science-based movie becomes also a humanist drama due to these subtle but important moments.

The audience further feels moved by the way Agnihotri sheds light on the problems that scientists encounter both in the laboratories and in their personal lives. The discussions and dialogues delivered in the movie are powerful and hard-hitting. Nana Patekar as Dr. Balram Balram Bhargava and Pallavi Joshi as Dr. Priya Abraham, Director-NIV seize every opportunity to amaze the audience with their outstanding performances. The audiences sense their anguish, happiness, pride, and grief.

Movie exposes toolkit gang, suggests shutdown of such ‘media’ houses

Other than the science part behind manufacturing the vaccines, Agnihotri has very well called out to the leftist media homes which meddled in the way of government by executing anti-India activities. The Kashmir Files director is unafraid to explain how these ‘media’ houses, self-proclaimed journalists, leftist influencers, and fact-checkers are provided with the funds and toolkits to run the propaganda against the country. He has exposed the ecosystem through a ‘journalist’ named Rohini Singh Dhulia played by actress Raima Sen.

Still from the movie

Sen in the movie is shown peddling an anti-India agenda on the direction of foreign businessmen who provide her with money and content to be published against India. She further is shown targeting the government through her ‘media’ show, her social media handles, and other influencers. She is shown circulating the toolkit against India among her people while inciting fear in the minds of people against the COVID-19 spread and India’s indigenous vaccine.

The ‘journalist’ later is exposed by the scientists who sue her for publishing anti-India articles in her publication ‘The Daily Wire’. The movie dismisses such media homes as being shady and prejudiced. It suggests their shutdown immediately since they have been proven to be more harmful than the genuine coronavirus. Though Raima Sen has played a crucial character in the given series of chapters, her emotionless acting seemed to disappoint the viewers.

Nana Patekar as Dr Balram Balram Bhargava, Pallavi Joshi as Dr Priya Abraham, Director-NIV, and Girija Oak Godbole as Dr. Nivedita Gupta, ICMR, on the other hand, portray their parts beautifully, nothing short of a soldier fighting on the war front.

Why watch the movie?

The 2-hour 41-minute long movie is overall a package of truth, drama, simple storytelling, beautiful dialogue delivery, and amazing screenplay. However, the BGM of the movie which manages to create a feeling of unnecessary horror could have been better. The movie stands as a must-watch to primarily know the truth behind the making of India’s indigenous vaccine and then to witness mesmerizing performances by the lead actors.

‘The Vaccine War’ was released in theatres on September 28. It has been produced by actress Pallavi Joshi and the I Am Buddha Foundation. The film has been released in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu and has earned Rs 65 lakhs on Day 6 of the release. The total collection of the film stands at Rs 7.80 crore.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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