The Zee5 show Jeet Ki Zid is based on the inspirational story of former Indian Army Major Deependra Singh Sengar, whose absolute obstinacy propelled him to achieve the unattainable.
The seven-part series, based on a story by Akash Chawla and Arunava Joy Sengupta, blends true events with fictionalised elements. The foundation, however, is very much the story of Deep and his wife Jaya, played by Amit Sadh and Amrita Puri. Each episode ends with the real-life Sengars delivering a direct address to the camera that connects fiction with their actual experiences.
A dyed-in-the-wool military man, Deep’s determination ensures a berth at the elite Special Operations division. During his training, he encounters the hard-nosed Ranjeet Chowdhary (Sushant Singh), who pushes Deep to breaking point.
Deep gets severely injured during combat and is confined to a wheelchair. His devoted wife Jaya refuses to be derailed by adversity. The real-life Major describes Jaya as his “backbone”, and she is shown to be the driving force behind his rehabilitation.
Amit Sadh displays commendable commitment to a physically challenging and emotionally wrought role. Sadh has clearly put in a great deal of homework into his performance. The actor is seen undergoing rigorous athletic training, sparring in a boxing ring, firing a gun, strategising a rescue mission, losing it all and living with despair. Sadh grasps the skills and internalises the angst to deliver a forceful performance.
Sushant Singh is on point as Deep’s training officer. If Deep is shown to be unreasonably stubborn, Chowdhary is the agent provocateur.
The non-linear narrative shuffles back and forth, starting in Jammu and Kashmir in 1999, dialing back to Bhopal in 1987, and moving forward to 1996, 1999 and 2000. Screenwriter Siddharth Mishra adds dramatic elements, such as a supportive friend (Aly Gony), Deep’s anguished parents, and a hostage situation to round off the edges of the story.
Director Vishal Mangalorkar and the makers deserve credit for not simply painting Deep as a hero, but also showing him in his darker moments of self-pity, frustration and conceit. Mangalorkar handles the training and battle scenes with skill. However, the relationship moments are less finessed, and the script occasionally dumbs things down for audiences.
The makers have paid great heed to Army protocols, training methods, codes and operations. The Army scenes are impressive, but the script falls short in the detailing in the civilian-dominated scenes.
As Sengar says, his story is about the “army behind the Army” that helped him rebuild his life. A heartening story of persistence and fortitude, Jeet Ki Zid is as much a tribute to that invisible army.