War drama has been one of the greatest genres in world cinema for the past 100 years or perhaps more. Hollywood celebrated this genre like no other with subjects from the First and Second World War, while foreign language cinema focused more on the realistic effects and horrors thereof. In Bollywood, ‘Haqeeqat’ set a benchmark unsurpassed by any other film, and for the commercial and mass elements, ‘Border’ became a landmark. Even Border had that unrealistic jingoism, but to 90s audiences it was overwhelming and the film still enjoys cult status with TV audiences.
Recently, the biggest news in this genre came out “Uri: The Surgical Strike,” which wasn’t a great movie at all, but the timing was so accurate that people just went for it without thinking about anything. Those actual events surrounding the release left people furious and the outburst was already captured by the film, hence the box office numbers exceeded all expectations. Shershaah is just as good as Uri so yeah it repeated the same mistakes too, but again the same commercialized take saved the movie. The shocking thing about Shershaah is that it is an extremely emotional movie in those last 10 minutes that leaves everyone with tears in their eyes.
It follows the life journey of Param Vir Chakra winner and army captain Vikram Batra, with Sidharth Malhotra in a dual role, as Batra and his identical twin brother Vishal, while Kiara Advani plays the role of Vikram’s girlfriend Dimple Cheema. The film contains no defamatory material as we have seen in few films lately and therefore the clean image of army and soldiers fills your chest with pride. With a burden of dealing with the biographical genre, the film struggles to establish some key things and between the love story and the songs, it is a bit irritating. Thankfully, that’s not too irritating, so you can easily let those moments pass and enjoy some great moments later.
Sidharth Malhotra’s performance is the best we’ve seen yet. Actually this is his only 2nd or 3rd acting oriented role while other times he was busy playing a cool funky dude and here he gets that potential role to show another side of his talent. Kiara Advani is more of a powdered pop and if you exclude songs, Shershaah is like a cameo role for her. The army gang is decent, nothing great including Nikitin Dheer, Shiv Pandit and Himmanshoo Malhotra in key roles. Music is fine despite misjudged timing in the screenplay. Editing and VFX are okay, but more accuracy would have been better. Shershaah never bores you as it is a quiet movie, credit should go to the well written screenplay.
War Genre is an open genre, it restricts you with nothing, so it can be used for anything you want. Hollywood used it for patriotic films, for musicals, for biographies, for controversial films, for brutal dramas and for sensational theories. Even recently, Hollywood made Masterpiece movies like “The Hacksaw Ridge” and “1917.” Well, Bollywood is way behind. When Hollywood made a movie like ‘Patton’, Bollywood wasn’t even making mainstream war movies and what a damn great classic Patton was and is, even today. That high quality film production is missing these days and for bollywood it is almost 50 years ahead from today. We can be happy with movies like Uri and Shershaah as our masses and TV audience would never complain about them, so yes Shershaah is definitely watchable. Director Vishnuvardhan has certainly made a movie that is good to watch. But never forget that the potential for biographical war dramas is always unlimited, and as I said, not every movie can be ‘Patton’. So overall, Shershaah has everything you’d expect from a commercial patriotic drama and I’m convinced it deserved to be watched on the big screen.
RATING – 3.5/5* 🌟🌟🌟✨
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