Tango Charlie poster
|Directed by||Mani Shankar|
|Produced by||Nitin Manmohan|
|Written by||Mani Shankar|
|Music by||Anand Raj Anand
|Cinematography||T. Surendra Reddy|
|Distributed by||Neha Arts|
|Release date(s)||25 March 2005|
|Budget||$3,000,000 US (est.)|
Tango Charlie is a 2005 Indian film directed by Mani Shankar. It got rave reviews and was well received by audiences, but did not perform well commercially. The movie aims to portray the different aspects of war and grief, and does not glorify these acts.
The story starts off with two Indian Air Force helicopter pilots (Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty) discovering a mass pile of dead rebels and Indian trooper appearing to be dead. They later discover he's alive and find out who he is by reading his diary. The tale revolves around an Indian BSF trooper named Tarun Chauhan (Bobby Deol) in the 101st BSF Battalion arriving to the northeastern Indian province of Manipur. While walking through the jungle searching for his platoon commander, he was caught in a trap and hung upside down. It is later revealed that Havaldar (Sergeant) Mohammad Ali (Ajay Devgan) set the trap and calls him an idiot for falling into it. He later meets the rest of the squad where he gets his assigned job as the cook for the platoon. Upon being asked why he joined the Border Security Force, he says it is to protect his country from any harm. Ali says that whoever has made that comment is nothing but a hypocrite. He tells him that the Bodos rebels, who want an independent Manipur from India, have massacred many innocent people and are not afraid to kill them as well. Tarun later acknowledges his codename "Tango Charlie" and learns Ali's codename is "Mike Alpha" when asked by him. One day on a patrol, the platoon accidentally kills one of their own as a set trap by the Bodos. The entire platoon goes mad with grief over the mistake. Then another soldier is kidnapped and has his stomach sliced open and is left as bait. Tarun finds this shocking and totally unbelievable. Mohammad tells his overly emotional troopers to think that he's dead and focus on killing the terrorists. The dying soldier continues to scream in pain.
Tarun tries to stop one of the overly emotional soldiers from giving the wounded soldier morphine. He falls into the trap and is shot dead. The screaming soldier then dies. Tarun and Mike Alpha take their aims and fire. They kill most of the rebels but others as well as their leader escape. At night, Tarun and Mohammad search for the remaining rebels and kill them off one by one. When the leader tries to escape by boat, Mike Alpha and Tarun swim over and knock them off. They engage in hand to hand combat and Mike Alpha slits the throat of the Bodos leader with his own machete. Tarun tries to kill the other rebel but finds out that it's a young boy, he holds with a knife to his face. After the tour in Manipur, Tarun returns home to his native province of Haryana.
Over there he is happily welcomed home by his family and friends. Another shocking truth he finds out is that he's going to be engaged to a girl named Lachchi Naryan (Tanisha), an educated computer engineer. Tarun has some sexist beliefs about her views but is later extinguished of them by her. They both fall in love and Tarun pledges to Lachchi that he will come back to her alive. A few months later Tarun and the rest of Mike Alpha's platoon are transferred to the southern Indian province of Andra Pradesh to counter the Naxalites rebels wreaking havoc upon the countryside. Tarun and the rest of his platoon are riding in a convoy while protecting a high ranking colonel's wife and young children. As the convoy approaches the city of Hyderabad, the rebels notice it and signal one of their own. He then presses the detonator and sets off a planted IED underneath the jeep killing the colonel and his family. They then fire upon the trucks causing Mike Alpha's platoon to take cover in a rocky part beside the road while the rebels hunt them down. They profusely use an RPG launcher to flush out the troopers but fail. Tarun and the rest of the platoon kill the rebels. Tarun chases a rebel and finds out that it's a woman. Another BSF trooper attempts to rape the rebel. Tarun intervenes by pulling him off. He then sees the rebel kill herself with her own assault rifle. The other BSF trooper tries to kill Tarun for his intervention but Tarun kills him in self defense. Mike Alpha discovers the whole thing and Tarun tries to surrender himself saying that he's willing to give into any punishment given to him. Mike Alpha says he did the right thing, protecting the Border Security Force's reputation.
On their next assignment, he is surprised to know that the platoon will now try to quench the religious riots taking place in the western province of Gujarat. Upon arriving at the chaotic scene, the police chief desperately tries to calm the crowd down. When he is shot and killed by an extremist, Mike Alpha AKA Mohammad Ali orders the platoon to open fire. Many innocent people are killed in the volley of fire. Tarun spots the extremist and tries to shoot him. He accidentally hits a bystander who just accidentally pops into the way. After the chaos, Tarun goes to the victim's family for forgiveness from them. Instead of forgiving him, they nearly beat him to death even after he tells them that it was by mistake. Mike Alpha intervenes and tells them that the BSF isn't here to kill innocent people but to stop people from committing horrendous acts of violence against each other. While in a military hospital, Mohammad tells his own tragic story in which he was assigned to save the family of a rich landlord from Naxalites in Bengal. The terrorists were able to kill almost everyone at the landlord's daughter's wedding. Even with all the effort, he and his group miserably failed and the daughter was killed too by the terrorists before Mike Alpha finished off all of them. He claims it was the first time that he listened to his heart and not to his brains.
Tango then gets a letter saying that Lachchi is getting married to another person. He immediately dashes home and realizes that it was a trap set by her to know how much he loved her. The next day she steals his diary and reads it. She is shocked by the events Tarun had witnessed, from seeing the fellow trooper in Manipur left as bait for his platoon by the Bodos to getting beaten by the Gujarati family he went over to apologize for killing the father on accident. Lachchi apologizes to Tarun and they soon get married.
The Kargil War between India and Pakistan soon begins and Mike Alpha's platoon and the battalion move out to the state of Kashmir where they are assigned to defend a bridge. Mike Alpha gives Tarun a strict order, shoot anyone who doesn't say a password after three tries. One day a high ranking military officer comes to the bridge and he doesn't know the password which is "Rainfall". Tarun shoots one of the guards which enrages the officer who threatens him with a court martial. Suddenly the officer tries to kill him, Mike Alpha intervenes. The officer is a disguised rebel helping Pakistani forces get off with ease. Tarun takes cover while the rebels kill off most the platoon. Mike Alpha kills a large number of the rebels before being approached by a real battalion of soldiers who give him the password. Mike salutes them and then dies of his severe wounds. Tarun, who has survived the attack, vows revenge. He arms himself to the teeth and stalks the rebels to their base. He then wires the entire place with explosives. The rebel leader discovers one of the explosive attachments, and tries to stop one of his men. Unfortunately he opens the door and the explosives go off, killing the rest of the rebels. Tarun then goes into the rebel leader's place and shoots him dead before being wounded himself too. He then collapses into the snow. He's rescued by the helicopter pilots featured earlier in the film who take him over to a village doctor who treats him off his wounds and later the pilots are rewarded for their actions in finding Tango Charlie. His dead friend and mentor Mohammad Ali gets rewarded.
Tango Charlie was an instant success, in the American Market. it earned over six million dollars, which hugely covered up for the loss in the Indian market. Its DVD sales sky rocketed, and stands to be the fourth highest selling Bollywood DVD of the year.