IB 71 (2023): The True Story Of India’s Top Secret Mission To Pakistan

In the year 1947, just after securing independence, Pakistan attacked India and a ferocious war endured between the two countries. After 1947, political tensions were high between the two. Pakistan is always on the look out for gaining control over the state of Kashmir. The war between India and Pakistan happened in 1947 and is expected to happen again. It is only the question of, “When?”

IB 71 (2023): Starring action hero Vidyut Jammwal!

IB 71 (2023): The Narration

It was the judgment day in the year 1971 when Pakistan declared an air attack on India. Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director, N.S. Avasti (Anupam Kher) gets a call that his spy has been captured by Pakistanis. Avasti orders that this Indian spy should be rescued at any cost.

IB 71 (2023): Make The “IMPOSSIBLE” “I-M-POSSIBLE” With Vidyut Jammwal!

The scene moves to Bangladesh (East Pakistan), in an army camp where we get to see IB agent Dev Jammwal (Vidyut Jammwal) disguised as a Bangladeshi soldier. A Bangladeshi soldier salutes him and Dev asks the soldier about the Indian spy who has been captured. The soldier tells Dev that the captured spy has not yet uttered a word. All of a sudden, an announcement is made in the camp that the Bangladeshi Army’s Major is arriving. Meanwhile, two Bangladeshi soldiers bring the Indian spy before Dev. The spy appears maltreated, all tied and gagged up by the Bangladeshis. Dev utters the code word “Bangla Babu” to the spy. Hearing this, the spy gets some hope and calms down.

Dev, who is disguised as a Bangladeshi soldier, is taking the spy along with him back to India when in the middle of the road the spy tells him, “The reel which contains all secret information is still with the Bangladeshis. They took it from me”. Hearing this, Dev heads in the opposite direction straight to the camp by hanging onto some passing military vehicles.

He reaches the camp and starts searching for the reel. But as he is doing so, the Bangladeshi Major arrives at the scene. The Major points a gun at him, asks him who he is, and threatens to kill him if he happens to be a spy. Dev acts cleverly and starts showing him random pictures of Bangladeshi military officers and veterans and tells him that they are his family members. The Major gets convinced by Dev’s answers and lets him take away the reel. Dev travels back to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) office in New Delhi, India, and proudly shows his seniors the reel which he revived from the hands of the Bangladeshis.

Vidyut Jammwal (Right) as IB agent Dev Jammwal and Anupam Kher (Left) as IB Director N.S. Avasti in IB 71 (2023)

The scene now heads to Pakistan (West Pakistan) where we see Pakistani officials planning and plotting about attacking India within ten days. In the Intelligence Bureau’s office in India, Dev receives a message from an Indian spy, who is in Pakistan, that after ten days there will be a massive air attack on India by Pakistan, and China too is involved in it as it has joined hands with Pakistan. When Dev and Avasti discuss the issue with their superior, the superior tells them that India will require two months to prepare for countering this unexpected attack from Pakistan. Dev advises the superior to block the airspace connecting India and Pakistan so that the planes of Pakistan won’t be able to enter Indian territory. However, India needed a reason against Pakistan to enforce the blocking of their airspace.

The suspicion of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) directs toward a youth named Qasim Quershi (Vishal Jethwa), who is a resident of Kashmir and had been previously arrested for terrorism charges. When Dev hears about Qasim, a plan erupts in his mind. He goes to Avasti and tells him his plan. Dev’s plan is foolproof which will make Pakistan act foolishly and will lead to the blockage of its airspace. Thus, it will not be able to pursue its air attack on India.

Dev travels to Kashmir to keep an eye on Qasim. He couldn’t take any help from the Kashmiri police as this was a secret mission. In fact, he had planned to use Qasim as bait to stop Pakistan’s attack on India. Then Dev becomes aware of what Qasim is really up to. Qasim was visiting a theater and watching the same movie going on at the theater on a daily basis. That movie’s name is “Arzoo” and it shows every detail of how to hijack a plane! Qasim is actually learning the method to hijack a plane by watching that movie!

Dev immediately informs Avasti about the matter. Avasti orders the repair of a decommissioned aircraft named “Ganga” which is lying out of service at Shimla, India. Now, Dev will make terrorist Qasim fall for his own game by fooling him into hijacking a plane that he wants him to! After the plane gets hijacked by Qasim, India would declare this hijack as Pakistan’s act of terrorism and block their airspace. That would prevent the air attack that Pakistan had planned on India.

The “Ganga” airplane: A scene from IB 71 (2023)

The aircraft “Ganga” takes off from Shimla with 30 passengers on board. All the passengers are Indian spies who are dressed as civilians, and Dev himself is piloting the plane. Qasim and his fellow terrorist Ashfaq (Faizan Khan) have also boarded the plane. The spies have no weapons on them as they are role-playing as genuine civilians and it is up to the Indian government to rescue them once the plane gets hijacked.

The act goes on as planned. Qasim and Ashfaq get up from their seats and point their guns at the passengers shouting that it is a hijack. Qasim then tells Dev to take the aircraft to Rawalpindi in Pakistan. Dev convinces him that the plane does not have enough fuel to travel up to Rawalpindi. Instead, they can land at Lahore in Pakistan which is nearer.

Vishal Jethwa as terrorist Qasim Quershi in IB 71(2023)

When they reach Lahore, the air traffic controller refuses their landing request after becoming aware that this is an Indian aircraft. Dev desperately tries to land the aircraft but the first landing attempt fails as the runway gets blocked by Pakistani military vehicles. They won’t let the Indian aircraft land. It is then a do-or-die situation occurs! The left engine of the plane fails as the fuel becomes dangerously low. Dev forcefully lands the plane on the runway, not caring about the vehicles there; else the plane would have crashed. The Pakistani vehicles drive off the runway after sensing that this Indian aircraft needs to land at any cost.

Faizan Khan as terrorist Ashfaq Quershi in IB 71 (2023)

Now Qasim orders the Indian government to release 36 Pakistani activists whom India was holding as prisoners. These imprisoned activists were on a mission to separate the state of Kashmir from India and make it an independent state under the control of Pakistan. The Indian government tells Qasim that they would adhere to his orders. Still, the Pakistani officials become suspicious of how can a powerful country like India so easily accept their order to release the imprisoned Pakistani activists.

The passengers of the hijacked aircraft are transported to a hotel. It happened once that Dev fooled terrorist Ashfaq by helping him to escape from the Indian police when he was about to get caught. At that moment, Ashfaq recognizes Dev and tells Qasim that Dev is their ally. Meanwhile, the Indian spies who are disguised as passengers are given rooms at the hotel. A Pakistani official tells them that they will be allowed to call their friends and relatives in India within the next 30 minutes.

Little do the Pakistanis know that the “friends and relatives”, who the Indian spies dressed as civilians are calling, are actually Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials at the other end of their calls, who are pretending to be the friends and relatives of these so-called “hijack victims”.

However, this plan of the Indian Intelligence Bureau backfires. New Delhi, where the Intelligence Bureau (IB) headquarters is located, is facing thunderstorms! One of the Pakistani officials, who hears every call which is being made, suspects foul play. He hears lightning and thunder on every call which is being made. This makes him conclude that these hijack victims are calling their “friends and relatives” who are located at some place in India where thunderstorms are occurring. The sound of thunderstorms on every call indicates that the “friends and relatives” of the hijack victims are actually located in the same place! This can indicate one thing, that these hijacked civilians are actually spies who are reporting to their headquarters located in India. The Pakistani official didn’t say anything to the disguised spies yet. He plans to catch the Indian spies red-handed and beat the hell out of them.

A scene from IB 71 (2023): Presenting Dalip Tahil (Center) as Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Then the Pakistanis become aware that Dev is not their ally but actually an Indian spy. In the darkness of the night, some Pakistani officials enter the hotel to find Dev. As they come face-to-face with the Indian spies at the hotel, a ferocious fight endures between the two parties. The Indian spies beat the hell out of the Pakistani officials, capture them, and tightly tie them up inside a room in the hotel. However, one of the female spies gets critically injured during the fight. Dev consoles the injured woman by telling her that now he will teach these Pakistanis a lesson.

The next day, a Pakistani official arrives at the hotel and sees the Indian spies. He, in fact, does not know that the spies have kept his partners tied and gagged up inside a room in the hotel. All of a sudden, a call comes at the hotel’s reception from the Pakistani President’s personal assistant. The President’s assistant asks the Pakistani official whether the Indian spies at the hotel have left for the Pakistan-India border. The official is surprised because he was not aware of any such order from the President till now. Actually, the call is fake as the man who is calling the Pakistani official is no personal assistant of the President, but an ally of Dev! The Pakistani official also reads a fake newspaper that was planted by Dev at the hotel’s reception. The newspaper states that the Indian spies will be sent back to India upon the President’s orders. The Pakistani official gets fooled and asks the Indian spies to board a bus that will transport them to the border.

Meanwhile, the hotel’s cleaner finds the tied-up Pakistani officials inside one of the rooms. When they are untied, the officials realize how they have been fooled by Dev. No such order from the Pakistani President has come to release the Indian spies. But by the time they can catch up to the Indian spies, the spies reach and cross the border. The Pakistani officials tell Qasim what a fool he is as he had hijacked a plane that had Indian spies. They blame Qasim that now the 36 Pakistani activists are bound to be doomed in Indian jails for the rest of their lives. Angrily, Qasim burns the Ganga aircraft of India which he had hijacked. India takes this act of Pakistan’s hijacking and burning an Indian plane as an “act of war”, and blocks Pakistan’s airspace with India. This prevents the air attack that Pakistan had planned on India.

IB 71 (2023) Official Trailer:

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About Subhadeep Kumar Ganguli

Meta film critic. Never make the same mistake twice. Make it three or four times just to be sure 😉