‘Inside INA’ is little more than an advert for Asia’s largest naval academy

Viewers looking for an engaging documentary and not a filmed brochure will be disappointed.

A show made on the armed forces, in collaboration with and support from the armed forces, can just not help but be adulatory about its subject. If only it were not so devoid of humour and life.

But pushing your body and spirit for four years to become killing machines for the nation is, perhaps, grim business. The affair does not have to be so self-serious, but Inside INA makes it look like it is.

The 40-minute long documentary Inside INA gives us a 360-degree tour of the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala in Kerala that trains India’s future Navy officers and is the largest naval academy in Asia. The show was telecast on the National Geographic Channel on Independence Day, and will be telecast again on August 16 at 10pm.

This is the channel’s fifth production on the armed forces. Earlier, it has produced and broadcast shows on the Indian Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Border Security Forces.

The show’s script reads like a filmed version of a possible prospectus for the Indian Naval Academy. We get to know the salient features, as they say, of the academy in bullet point-like sequence after sequence.

Students from different backgrounds come fresh from school to the academy. They are given a crew cut as soon as possible. For the next four years, they get all the technical and physical training they need to become perfect sea hawks. The men (and a few women) are taught to behave like a group, be consistently loyal to each other, their larger squadron, and, eventually, the motherland.

Inside INA.

Everything is spic-and-span, state-of-the-art, and awesomely awesome at the Indian Naval Academy. Viewers looking for an engaging documentary in the truest sense and not just a filmed brochure of the INA will be disappointed.

For instance, we don’t get an insider’s view of the camaraderie between the cadets. Once in a while, an officer, an INA instructor or a cadet speaks to the camera and delivers functional information about their day-to-day routine life. But we don’t get to know what any of the many nameless future Navy officers think in their private moments, what they do for recreation, whether they have fights or face bullying or ever think of quitting or do they miss home.

In one scene, a cadet is getting the last haircut that he is ever going to get at the INA, and he shows just a hint of emotion for the academy (“After spending four years at some place, you develop feelings for that place”). That thread is never explored throughout the 40-minute running time. If that scene, which was the heart of the show, was delved into with sincerity, Inside INA could have had life to it.

The Ezhimala campus, where the show is set, was established in 2009. Since then, like in any other college campus, there must have been legends left behind by an errant few. But we don’t get to see that kind of informal history about the place.

Boys are tutored to follow orders for that it what makes them battle-ready men at such training academies. There is no space for irregularities or rough edges to be discussed outside the campus of the naval academy. Thus the show ends up being bland. Inside INA takes us inside INA in the literal sense. You might as well google-image you way through the training.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The perpetual millennial quest for self-expression just got another boost

Making adulting in the new millennium easier, one step at a time.

Having come of age in the Age of the Internet, millennials had a rocky start to self-expression. Indeed, the internet allowed us to personalise things in unprecedented fashion and we really rose to the occasion. The learning curve to a straightforward email address was a long one, routed through cringeworthy e-mail ids like You know you had one - making a personalised e-mail id was a rite of passage for millennials after all.

Declaring yourself to be cool, a star, a princess or a hunk boy was a given (for how else would the world know?!). Those with eclectic tastes (read: juvenile groupies) would flaunt their artistic preferences with an elitist flair. You could take for granted that and would listen to Bollywood music or read Archie comics only in private. The emo kids, meanwhile, had to learn the hard way that employers probably don’t trust candidates with e-mail ids such as

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

And with chat rooms, early millennials had found a way to communicate, with...interesting results. The oldest crop of millennials (30+ year olds) learnt to deal with the realities of adolescent life hunched behind anonymous accounts, spewing their teenage hormone-laden angst, passion and idealism to other anonymous accounts. Skater_chick could hide her ineptitude for skating behind a convincing username and a skateboard-peddling red-haired avatar, and you could declare your fantasies of world domination, armed with the assurance that no one would take you seriously.

With the rise of blogging, millennial individualism found a way to express itself to millions of people across the world. The verbosity of ‘intellectual’ millennials even shone through in their blog URLs and names. GirlWhoTravels could now opine on her adventures on the road to those who actually cared about such things. The blogger behind could choose to totally ignore petunias and no one would question why. It’s a tradition still being staunchly upheld on Tumblr. You’re not really a Tumblr(er?) if you haven’t been inspired to test your creative limits while crafting your blog URL. Fantasy literature and anime fandoms to pop-culture fanatics and pizza lovers- it’s where people of all leanings go to let their alter ego thrive.

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

Then of course social media became the new front of self-expression on the Internet. Back when social media was too much of a millennial thing for anyone to meddle with, avatars and usernames were a window into your personality and fantasies. Suddenly, it was cool to post emo quotes of Meredith Grey on Facebook and update the world on the picturesque breakfast you had (or not). Twitter upped the pressure by limiting expression to 140 characters (now 280-have you heard?) and the brevity translated to the Twitter handles as well. The trend of sarcasm-and-wit-laden handles is still alive well and has only gotten more sophisticated with time. The blogging platform Medium makes the best of Twitter intellect in longform. It’s here that even businesses have cool account names!

Self-expression on the Internet and the millennials’ love for the personalised and customised has indeed seen an interesting trajectory. Most millennial adolescents of yore though are now grownups, navigating an adulting crisis of mammoth proportions. How to wake up in time for classes, how to keep the boss happy, how to keep from going broke every month, how to deal with the new F-word – Finances! Don’t judge, finances can be stressful at the beginning of a career. Forget investments, loans and debts, even matters of simple money transactions are riddled with scary terms like beneficiaries, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS and more. Then there’s the quadruple checking to make sure you input the correct card, IFSC or account number. If this wasn’t stressful enough, there’s the long wait while the cheque is cleared or the fund transfer is credited. Doesn’t it make you wish there was a simpler way to deal with it all? If life could just be like…

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

Lo and behold, millennial prayers have been heard! Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first, has now integrated UPI on its digital platform, making banking over the phone easier than ever. Airtel Payments Bank UPI, or Unified Payment Interface, allows you to transfer funds and shop and pay bills instantly to anyone any time without the hassles of inputting any bank details – all through a unique Virtual Payment Address. In true millennial fashion, you can even create your own personalised UPI ID or Virtual Payment Address (VPA) with your name or number- like rhea@airtel or 9990011122@airtel. It’s the smartest, easiest and coolest way to pay, frankly, because you’re going to be the first person to actually make instant, costless payments, rather than claiming to do that and making people wait for hours.

To make life even simpler, with the My Airtel app, you can make digital payments both online and offline (using the Scan and Pay feature that uses a UPI QR code). Imagine, no more running to the ATM at the last minute when you accidentally opt for COD or don’t have exact change to pay for a cab or coffee! Opening an account takes less than three minutes and remembering your VPA requires you to literally remember your own name. Get started with a more customised banking experience here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel Payments Bank and not by the Scroll editorial team.