Shershaah Sandeep Srivastava Writer REVEALS the Moving Story of What Happened Behind Bringing Captain Vikram Batra’s Story to Life [Exclusive]


Sidharth Malhotra’s Shershaah and Kiara Advani, which tells the story of Kargil’s 1999 war hero and Param Vir Chakra award winner, Captain Vikram Batra, has won accolades from all corners since its launch on Amazon Prime on 12 January. August. From brilliant performances to breathtaking cinematic experience, Shershaah has managed to strike a chord in the hearts of the audience. Also read: Kangana Ranaut buries the ax with Karan Johar? Your comments for Shershaah give an important clue

Bollywood life Recently, he met with Shershaah’s writer Sandeep Srivastava to talk about the success of the film, get a chance to write the story of Vikram Batra, his attunement to the actors, how songwriting is a great tool for storytelling and the possibility of the premiere of the film. Also read: Will Sidharth Malhotra-Kiara Advani’s Shershaah be released in theaters? The screenwriter of the film Sandeep Srivastava speaks on the subject [Exclusive]

Also Read: Shah Rukh Khan, Allu Arjun, Priyanka Chopra And More Indian Stars Highlight In The World’s Most In-demand Actors List

Shershaah has become a stellar hit. Did you ever foresee that the movie would get such a response from the audience?

The kind of reactions we’re getting from the audience is really overwhelming. We knew we had made a wonderful movie together. Whether it’s the director, cinematographer, or the actors, they’ve all worked so hard to put things together in a beautiful way. But we had never anticipated that we would receive this enormous amount of love and appreciation from the audience.

How did you approach the story of Vikram Batra? What challenges did you face?

When working on a biopic, there are two important things to keep in mind, whether you are doing it with a living person or not. If the biopic is being made about a person who is still alive, you interact with them and try to get their perspective on their entire life. But for Shershaah, unfortunately, we did not have a chance to meet and interact with Kargil’s martyr, Captain Vikram Batra. The only way to get to know Batra was to talk to all of his close associates, such as school friends, family, relatives, girlfriend or army officers, his superiors who knew him better than we did, because any information we had gathered was from his interviews. , books or the Internet. When I became my researcher, I felt that this information would not be enough to do his biopic justice. My idea was to develop my own point of view on Batra instead of following other people’s perspective. So I started getting to know all his close associates and gradually we managed to make a skeleton of the plot that we could build the story on. We wanted to show the kind of person Batra was other than the man he was in the army uniform. He didn’t want to portray Batra just as a war hero, but he also wanted to show his ordinary side.

Is it difficult to strike a balance between telling a story based on a real person and entertaining the audience?

Yes, it is quite challenging to achieve that balance between the storytelling and the cinematic entertainment of the audience because you have to choose the important aspects or incidents of a person’s life that will help us tell the story from your own point of view in those 2-3 hours. duration. It is impossible to show everything. Speaking of balancing, it is a matter of art to draw together those particular instances of life with skill so that it does not interrupt the fluid movement of the story from beginning to end. Therefore, it is a collaborative process from the writer, director, actors to editors, cinematographers and others who continue to work in synchronized patterns.

How was your experience when you met close collaborators of Vikram Batra?

It really was a good experience. They all had only good things to talk about. The most attractive thing about Batra was that, wherever he went, all individuals could not help but notice him. Such was his aura. I found out about this in particular from his college friends, his childhood friends from Palampur, and his colleagues. He had some kind of energy that used to attract people instantly. So when Sidharth Malhotra steps in as Captain Vikram Batra, you will begin to live the journey as your own.

How much cinematic freedom can you take when writing a biopic?

Not much really. There are certain milestones in a person’s life. So when you are making a biopic you have to show those incidents as and how they have taken place in real life. You cannot have freedom in that. You cannot create new milestones and say that this happened too. It would be inappropriate. So we can only try to take dramatic liberty only when we can be somewhere close to reality as we shift from one landmark to another, which will not hinder the overall flow of the story and engagement, and at the same time, will keep the entertainment quality the same.

Director Vishnuvardhan was always of the opinion that we should shoot this movie in real places because it is not meant to be shot on sets. Obviously, we were unable to shoot at Point 5140 for various reasons. So we looked for similar looking mountainous terrain at 12000-13000 feet above sea level compared to the actual incident that took place at 16000-17000 feet above sea level. The credit goes to Vishnuvardhan, who insisted on shooting in those places.

Tell us about how attuned you were to the Shershaah team during creation.

It was brilliant. All the actors had developed a fabulous in tune with each other and it gradually improved as we worked to the end. A close bond had developed, a comfort zone between all of us that when you see the actors performing those scenes, it will make you believe that this troop would have been exactly the same in real life. So when we started reading the script together and went to film at the locations, it seemed like we were all some kind of old friends. Such was the understanding.

Did members of the Batra family visit the sets?

No, No. We met and interacted with them along with all the actors, but the members of Vikram Batra’s family did not interfere with the filming of the movie. They weren’t on the sets.

What was the Batra family’s reaction after seeing the movie?

Now what can I say. It was really overwhelming. When you see someone who was your friend, colleague, husband, brother and son who passed away 20 years ago and you relive all those moments on screen, there are all kinds of emotions in total. It takes a little time to settle. Each and every member of the Batra family said that the way Sidharth Malhotra has played the role, Vikram was like that. Also the role of Captain Sanjeev Jamwal that Shiv Pandit has portrayed on screen, Jamwal said that their interactions used to be of a similar kind, the little conflicts that morphed into deep friendship, and everything that has been shown was explosive. They were satisfied, they were happy, they came and told us that you have actually done a great job.

Would you like to share your reaction when this project was offered to you?

So there was this Captain Vikram Batra interview in which he had immortalized the ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ catchphrase that I had seen live in 1999 while sitting on my 1BHK flat in Bombay (Mumbai). Suddenly I felt so charged thinking, ‘Ye kamal ka banda hai yaar. Goliyan shawl rahi hai upar se, ye log baithe hue hai and unn pahado pe chadke maar raha hai and uske baad keh raha hai ki ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’. I felt that this man must be out of this world and ‘kis mitti ka bana hua hai ye’. I always had great respect for Vikram Batra in my heart. But he had never dreamed of having a chance in life to write his story. So when I was first offered this project, I felt like, ‘Ke kahi se kuch taar judd gaye hai’. As a writer, I always wanted to write a story about the war, but there was never a scope for that. And then all of a sudden when I got this offer out of nowhere, he said to me, ‘Aap likhna chahenge kya?’ Producer Shabbir Boxwala, who had taken the rights from Vikram Batra’s family to the film, approached me and in 2-3 meetings we teamed up to write the story. It was a completely different experience writing a story about the person I’ve seen give that interview and the audience loves it. I feel blessed and maybe there is some kind of guidance from there that everything fell into the right place.

How important are songs in a biopic?

The songs are nothing more than a reflection of our emotions. In fact, I love songs, if you ask me. It’s such an amazing medium that if you want to act out a story of two lovers, which might require you to write almost 20 scenes to form the narrative, you can show the whole thing in a matter of 2-3 minutes. Then there couldn’t be a better way to tell a story. I think songwriting is a great storytelling tool. And if the songs carry the narrative of your story seamlessly without interrupting the flow, then they should be a part of it.

Will Shershaah be released in theaters?

It would be difficult for me to answer this question. I think the producers of the film or the OTT platforms can say if they would like to release Shershaah in theaters as well. But one thing is clear: regardless of the reactions we get from the audience, a common sentiment they shared was: ‘When will we get to see Shershaah on the big screen?’ And the other thing is, ‘Kabhi nahi socha tha ki ye film dekhenge aur rona aa jayega.’ Then there might be a possibility. And if you ask those who have seen Shershaah on an OTT platform to rewatch the film in theaters, then everyone will say, ‘Why not?’ People have already seen the movie on OTT two and three times, so why wouldn’t they see it in theaters again? I would like to think positive because the special effects you will feel while watching on the big screen would definitely make you feel like you are on the battlefield.

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