The trailer for Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s The Vaccine War was released by the makers on Tuesday. Described as India’s first ‘bio-science’ movie, the film follows a team of steadfast scientists as they develop an indigenous and affordable COVID-19 vaccine.
The film is based on the true story of the development of the Covaxin (BBV152), an inactivated coronavirus vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with the National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
In the film, Nana Patekar plays the head scientist leading this race against time. Three-time National Film Award-winner Pallavi Joshi portrays his second-in-command. We also meet Raima Sen as a journalist spinning a ‘narrative’ to discredit India’s efforts and promote foreign vaccines. Towards the end of the trailer, Anupam Kher appears in a face mask, playing the Prime Minister.
“The Vaccine War doesn’t shy away from naming a few politicians as well as prominent journalists who promoted foreign vaccines,” Agnihotri was quoted as saying by PTI at the trailer launch. “At that time, it was very unfortunate that some people were selling India and our lives – some people were getting money to promote foreign vaccines and they were trying to sabotage the Indian vaccine for their political agenda.”
Agnihotri is known for directing The Tashkent Files (2019) and The Kashmir Files (2022) in recent years. Both films were commercial successes despite criticism of pushing contentious and pro-establishment narratives. In the 69th National Film Awards announced last month, The Kashmir Files was awarded the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration. The film details the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community from the Kashmir valley in the early 1990s during the insurgency.