Shershaah Movie Review Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars (three and a half stars)
Star cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Nikitin Dheer, Sahil Vaid, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Raj Arjun
Director: Vishnu Varadhan
What is good: Each department comes with something valuable to add to the overall product, from acting to cinematography to music to screenplay.
What is bad: Comes with the usual clichés from army movies, the dialogues could have been better … not louder … better
Loo Break: The beat won’t let you hit that pause button very often (many may differ here from the opening romantic track, but ‘ruko zara … sabar karo’ eventually grows larger)
To look or not ?: A roaring yes!
The story is about ‘Palampur ka seedha saadha launda’ Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra), son of a teacher, who grows up with the dream of serving his country one day. He is so obsessed with the army uniform that he wears it every time at his school. She grows up to prepare for her dream and just before taking her exams, and falls in love with a very simple Dimple (Kiara Advani).
On the verge of sacrificing his ‘army’ dream to elect the Merchant Marine for more money (to impress the girl’s father), Vikram receives advice from his friend Sunny (Sahil Vaid). He leaves to become a lieutenant and earns respect among his team members by capturing gruesome terrorists around. With his current regiment, he enters the Kargil War facing Pakistani militants who ambush the LOC. Recovering two of the main points, Vikram Batra leads his team, giving the whole country a reason to celebrate, which today is known as ‘Vijay Divas’ (December 16).
Shershaah Movie Review: Script Analysis
One beautiful thing about these topics is that you can be informative, but sometimes that information can become too well known to inform through a movie. We have seen shades of Kargil War depicted multiple times in Bollywood movies before, and this is one of the best. Coming from Kabir Singh film school, writer Sandeep Srivastava (New York, additional dialogue for Kabul Express) keeps things pretty limited. The cliché but cute romance doesn’t get too much between the highly controlled border drama and the unfiltered action.
Given the theme, it’s too easy to find yourself on the line making your characters scream loud patriotic dialogue adding too much melodrama (read: Bollywood’ising) to actual events. But, Srivastava’s script navigates smoothly, touching on all the usual Bollywood army movie cliches and not holding them back for long. The love story part started on a very compelling note, but it finally got me hooked. The climax takes the movie a little higher, helping it end on a high note.
When you write a movie around such a famous name, you have to bear the consequences that “people know everything.” Kamaljeet Negi’s impressive camera work helps show the tensions that Srivastava’s script intended. There are plenty of ‘suspense-revealing’ shots where Negi works magic with the way the camera turns. One sequence where you can feel the upper camera work is the fight sequence between Sidharth Malhotra and Mir Sarwar’s character Haider; just watch that scene again for Kamaljeet Negi. Veteran editor A. Sreekar Prasad restricts the film to its best possible running time, that is, 135 minutes.
Shershaah Movie Review: Star Performance
The natural question to ask is, is this Sidharth Malhotra the best? I’m really still torn between this and Ek Villian because that had more depth. Vikram Batra actually puts up a tough fight with Sidharth, not only setting the tone of the character but also his quirky personality. Look at the end credits, which has an interview from OG Vikram Batra (PVC) and you will realize how incredibly well Sidharth has embodied him in the very scene of the film. Sid’s charm allows him to bring the heroic magnetism that Vikram Batra had. Today he would have been proud of Sidharth Malhotra, like all of us!
Kiara Advani is a wonderful fit as the protagonist’s love interest. The everlasting tenderness in her gives the character a seductive touch. Despite the limited screen presence, the creators never let us forget the importance of Dimple in Vikram’s life. Shiv Pandit as Jimmy has some good scenes, but other than that it’s a wasted opportunity. Jimmy’s character needed more depth and a greater connection to Vikram Batra for even better impact.
He was so happy for Sahil Vaid when the movie started to think that he would finally get his due, but no. She has an extremely limited role in which she is brilliant, but “yeh dil maange more!” Of the rest of the team members, Nikitin Dheer, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar and Raj Arjun stand out from the rest.
Shershaah Movie Review: Directing, Music
Vishnu Varadhan’s first foray into Bollywood has all the ingredients to be one of the most elegantly presented war dramas. Vishnu does not take an easy, linear route to explain events, and begins with the end. Carefully, without touching the landmines of pop nationalism or patriotism, Vishnu gets right to the point. The lack of good dialogue, in a way, becomes an obstacle to its smooth direction.
John Stewart Eduri’s background score is powerful and rhythmic, but it is haunted by the absence of a good theme. Fans of B Praak would have the surprise of a lifetime towards climax. Bro-tip: Keep your tissues close at hand.
Shershaah Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, people after seeing this will ask Sidharth Malhotra: “Yeh Dil maange more!” But this reminds me of another Pepsi catchphrase, “Mere kab aayega number?” because this is a Sidharth show to the end. One more week, yet another movie that could have set the box office on fire.
Three and a half stars!
Shershaah launches on Aug 12, 2021.
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