Sara Ali Khan spends a day with the elite all-female Veerangana Force in Assam, and it is a tedious watch
The discovery+ documentary follows Bollywood star Sara Ali Khan training with the Veerangana Force at the Assam Police Commando Battalion in Guwahati. She attempts a combat training exercise, a rock climbing exercise, a weapons training exercise, and a hostage rescue exercise over the course of the day. A few of the commandos are also interviewed for the documentary as they talk about their lives before and after joining the force.
It is quite commendable that Khan put herself out there by taking part in these exercises, curated for trained operatives. Any civilian would struggle and feel out of place just as she did. However, the choice of the editors to dramatize this with background score and the use of slow-motion shots has inadvertently undermined her efforts. Each exercise is unnecessarily prolonged as Khan desperately struggles her way through them.
There are a few interviews with three women from the force, which included some heartwarming stories of courage and redemption. But they come across as forced into a narrative that lays more emphasis on stylised action sequences. Instead, the documentary could have focused more on these women and their stories. Woman police constables Kangana Ray, Anjali Bakla, and a constable who wished to stay anonymous, provided earnest interviews and detailed their respective journeys to Veerangana.
The history of the Veerangana and how it was formed in 2012, and their recruitment of young women from across Assam to protect and rescue other women in distress should have been fleshed out to add depth to the documentary. Khan, in a more Jeremy Clarkson-Esque role, with her humour and charm, could have helped with the pacing of the narrative of the 40-minute documentary. The wall-climbing exercise could have been trimmed down by a few minutes to focus more on Veerangana.
The production value resembles a subpar Bollywood action film with some over-the-top animated infographics, which could have easily been mistaken for a Tom Clancy video game from the 2000s. Towards the end of its runtime, there is some behind-the-scenes footage that looks more organic and could have been used to create a more coherent narrative.
The documentary is unintentionally funny and the entire narrative could be explained in a sentence.