Films like ‘Dunkirk’ are generally termed masterpieces.
Christopher Nolan’s war epic has already gathered a major positive response from critics and the audience, with a blockbuster opening, the film has earned almost Rs. 356 crore in the overseas market till date. Set in the backdrop of World War II, the film revolves around a coruscating reformation, of the 1940 evacuation, of almost 350,000 men from the beaches in Northern France. This time, Nolan tried his hand at an entirely different genre, much of Steven Spielberg’s taste and somehow succeeded well in his intentions.
The special IMAX cameras have won the hearts of Nolan’s fans, the mass evacuation, the fear of survival and the hope to emerge safe amidst the war, are aptly depicted, just the way one usually expects from the auteur director.
However, after much has been said and written about the film, no one really noticed a striking fact, of great significance to Indians. Yes, ‘Dunkirk’ and Indians have now a thought provoking relation!
In the film, there is no mention of the fact that the Indian Army played an important role in the events depicted and, by extension, in the war.
As per an article by John Broich published in the Slate, Dunkirk’s beaches had almost four companies of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, during the time of the evacuation and the period in which the movie is set.
Manimugdha S Sharma from The Times of India explains,
Unlike the British, the Indian Army was still not mechanized. It had 96 infantry battalions and 18 cavalry regiments with only two being ordered to give up horses for tanks a little before the war. So the pack animals and their handlers had to come from India.
The significant contributions of the Indian army are however, missing from the Christopher Nolan film. This has been further cited as a “missed opportunity to also tell the story of the lascars” by Lt Cdr Manish Tayal of the Royal Navy.