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There are two kinds of Bollywood movies: Those that are completely shoddily made, and those that are competent but uninspiring. ‘Shershaah’ is the latter.
A review of a Bollywood film titled “Shershaah” starring Sanjay Dutt and Kareena Kapoor, written by the typical “persona-world” writer who likes to be a critic of Bollywood films.
When I watch Shershaah, the first thing that springs to me is that a war hero deserves a more thrilling film. It’s a genuinely sad, controlled tale of a 25-year-old Army Captain who died fighting in the Kargil war in 1999, but it takes much too long to get up to speed.
Captain Vikram Batra’s experiences as an officer and a gentleman, given Shershaah’s tone and presentation, add up to a story that depends on broad strokes rather than delving into the subtleties of the eponymous hero’s development as the extremely brave maverick.
The protagonist’s identical twin is the story’s narrator. Despite this, he, like the rest of the soldier’s family, is confined to the plot’s periphery, a creative choice that prevents Shershaah from becoming an overarching story that spans the martyr’s extraordinary bravery as well as his family’s resilience.
The Vishnu Varadhan-directed war film, which is currently accessible on Amazon Prime Video and was co-produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, weaves together pieces of a life fashioned out of recorded facts and put inside a framework.
The main actor, Sidharth Malhotra, has what it takes to portray a real-life martyr with a larger-than-life aura. Despite this, the character’s tough-as-nails mindset, which is at the core of his battlefield daring-do, is communicated in driblets.
Captain Batra, alias Shershaah, invented the term “Yeh dil maange more” during a crucial operation during the Kargil war. Unfortunately, the film about him and his short life is not fascinating enough to hold the audience’s attention.
Sandeep Shrivastava’s Shershaah writing seems to touch on both the sorrow of a life cut short by conflict and the courage and pride inherent in Captain Batra’s last sacrifice. On the other hand, it uses conventional methods to convey a story that has been in the public domain for the better part of two decades. So there won’t be any startling revelations from Shershaah for the audience.
Vikram, who has not yet reached puberty, is pitted against a bully who refuses to return a cricket ball. His father, a schoolteacher in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, criticizes his son and fears he may turn into a thug. “Meri cheez mere se koi nahi chheen sakta (No one can remove what belongs to me),” Vikram replies unfazed.
It’s a logical development from there. The late 1980s television series Param Vir Chakra captivated Vikram, especially an episode on Palampur’s Major Somnath Sharma, the first recipient of India’s highest bravery award.
The kid starts to wear military fatigues to parties and social gatherings, much to the displeasure of the rest of his family. The kid, on the other hand, has made up his mind. He tells everyone he knows that one day he will be a soldier guarding the nation’s borders.
The second part of Vikram Batra’s story takes place at a Chandigarh college, when he meets Dimple Cheema and falls in love with her (Kiara Advani). His parents, two older sisters, and identical twin brother Vishal (also played by Sidharth Malhotra) are pushed to the sidelines as the collegiate romance grows.
The Sardarni tribe is represented by Dimple Cheema. Her father is adamant that his daughter not have any kind of connection with a Punjabi Khatri lad. Keep in mind, though, that nothing can take away Vikram Batra’s gaze. The love affair, however, comes to a stop since Vikram is uncertain about his next steps.
With Dimple on his mind, he can’t decide whether to pursue his childhood dream of joining the army or take a lucrative Merchant Navy position. There are no rewards for guessing at the end of the day. With the help of his girlfriend and best friend Sunny, he makes the right choice (Sahil Vaid).
Eighty minutes of Shershaah’s 135-minute runtime are spent setting the stage for Vikram’s heroic deeds, first in Sopore, where he develops excellent camaraderie with his seniors and juniors alike, and then during the Kargil conflict, which forces him to cut a trip back to Chandigarh to meet Dimple and reassure her that his love is genuine.
All of the characters in front and behind the camera, including the director of photography (Kamaljeet Negi), the action choreographer, and the main actor, come into their own in the fight scenes that follow. As Shershaah settles into anything approaching a rhythm, the sluggish pace of the opening two-thirds of the film is quickly forgotten.
Vikram’s philosophy as a soldier is “live by chance, love by choice, and kill by profession.” He does not give up despite the loss of his friends throughout the battle. He vows he’ll do all he can to reduce Indian casualties to a minimal.
Captain Sanjeev “Jimmy” Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), his Indian Army superior by six months, is assured by the brave lieutenant of the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, “No one will die on my watch again.” Vikram adds, “If anybody dies other than the enemy, it will be me.”
The young officer’s superior, Lt. Col Y.K. Joshi (Shitaf Figar), sees the spark in Vicky and Jimmy and freely acknowledges that they are his finest troops. Unfortunately, Jimmy’s character, like many others, is severely undeveloped. The actors that portray these minor roles, Shiv Pandit, Nikitin Dheer, and Anil Charanjeett, have just a few scenes to make their presence known. It’s a losing battle.
Shershaah, for the most part, avoids chest-thumping and flag-waving. It pays tribute to a valiant soldier. The hero, on the other hand, isn’t known for his cockiness or bellicose bluster. He’s the kind of level-headed individual who knows exactly what he has to accomplish and goes about doing it.
That is, to some degree, how the film is. With greater military drama and cinematic force and grit, Shershaah might have climbed far higher.
SCORE: 6 OUT OF 10
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- old hindi movies
- good bollywood movies
- bollywood movies 2023
- what is bollywood
- movies on education system in india