Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, is known for many things. For music geeks, Kohima is the site of the Hornbill Festival that boasts of an annual battle of the bands. However, the city is also noteworthy for serving as the site for the Battle of Kohima. The battle fought between the British and the Japanese resulted in the former’s victory but at the cost of several Indian soldiers who are celebrated till this day at the Kohima War Cemetery.
It’s this context that Saahil Bhargava touches upon in his single Kohima. With an energetic rock production, Bhargava’s vocals evoke a sense of pain. To put it simply, Kohima is an anti-war song but rather than being preachy, the singer relies on a more lamentable approach and it works perfectly in his attempts to understand the trials and tribulations of a soldier caught in a brutal battle.
The lyrics don’t tend to glorify any side, removing all jingoistic notions of wartime action that pop culture is filled with. At the same time, he respects the brave deeds of the fallen and Kohima seems like the perfect tribute in this regard. The fast-tempo drumming is not aggressive to the ears but still gets its point through in conveying the intensity and uncertainty of war. Ryan Benyo and Monte Malone do build a tense atmosphere that has the makings of a power rock anthem.
And to further increase the impact of the track, an animated video by Harmeet Rahal recreates the battle scenes, focusing on one particular soldier and his desperate quest to survive. The comic-book style art is aesthetically pleasing and unflinchingly intense. Audiences who are enthusiastic about animated videos or war films would be in for a treat.
Verdict: An impactful ode to unsung heroes.