Star Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani, SANJAY DUTT, Saurabh Shukla (who is not a hakla) & far too many dumb Brits (Though they never apologised for whatever they did to us, but I’m extremely sorry for this film)
Director: Karan Malhotra (the one who gave us one of the best commercial potboilers in Bollywood, Agneepath, although the skeleton of its story was of course adapted by the OG)
What’s Good: Sanjay Dutt playing a roaring character for the 4675th time & still making it believable, visuals so good that I might have appreciated the film if I was deaf (along with dumb maybe)
What’s Bad: The production house’s decision of coming up with such a film even after the massive failure of Thugs Of Hindostan is the beginning of bad things for the film.
Loo Break: *Breaks – Multiple. Many.
Watch or Not?: Only if you still haven’t watched Thugs Of Hindostan & are still someone who visits the cinema hall just for the visuals!
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 157 minutes
Shamshera (Ranbir Kapoor) is the leader of the Khameran tribe situated in as North, the North India goes, who sacrifices himself for his people’s independence. Following the age-old trope of ‘son fulfilling father’s unfulfilled dreams’ & 25 years later (set in the early 1800s), we see Balli who earns his leaving by stealing expensive things (and that’s what he teaches the kids of his tribe).
For some reason, Balli always declines to be a part of the Khameran tribe (which Ranbir should’ve done with the film), but somehow he keeps coming back to ‘his people’. He keeps stalking a dancer Sona (Vaani Kapoor), asking her to marry him because he’ll be a king one day. His dream of serving the British army doesn’t serve him well after he faces Shuddh Singh (Sanjay Dutt) who’s also the killer of his father btw. Rest y’all smart enough to know the drill, how a legend always rises to save his tribe and what happens next.
Shamshera Movie Review: Script Analysis
Written by Neelesh Misra & Khila Bisht, it’s not Sanjay Dutt who’s the actual villain of this film. Misra, an extremely talented lyric-writer & his college friend Bisht fall into trap of ‘too much to say, too less to express’. There’s a clear lack in the sense of direction of where should this story go. If you’re saying, it’s a father-son film, at least take some time to build an emotional connection between the viewers with them? Or if you’re trying to narrate a story of a rebel against the mighty British government, at least make the motive clear so that it’s either too relatable or too heroic to connect.
Anay Goswamy’s (Fitoor, Super 30 fame) cinematography along with the film’s background score save some stars for the film. Amid the opaque, cloudy mountains of Nubra Valley, the film starts on an extremely promising note which gave me confidence that Karan would repeat the Agneepath magic but as the film progresses the certainty I had started falling like rocks from Leh’s mountains. With lines like “Ghee daal diya garam garam, aati nahi sharam sharam,” it’s not sure whether Piyush Mishra (dialogue writer) wanted to make it actually funny or unintentionally funny.
Shamshera Movie Review: Star Performance
Before elaborating, those who are wondering why I’ve written names of the star-cast in a particular way at the start of the article. 2 Ranbir Kapoors because of double-roles, just Vaani (without surname) because she’s (not even) half-important to the story, Sanjay Dutt in caps because he’s roaring throughout & an extremely lame joke with Saurabh Shukla because his character talks in rhymes for the entire film.
It’s really brave of Ranbir Kapoor to attempt a dacoit-drama as his first commercial masala potboiler, but I kind of see now why he has stayed away from such films till now. His ‘rigid’ appearance & that signature voice tone doesn’t help him in any way to build intrigue for his character. There are times when he delivers dialogue like they’re been recited by Jordan from Rockstar.
Sanjay Dutt emerges as a better actor to fit in the world of Shamshera because he has done quite a few similar films in this area. Don’t expect a Kancha Cheena kind of performance & you won’t be disappointed by him at least. Vaani Kapoor as mentioned was not even half-important to the story and was as relevant as Katrina Kaif’s Suraiya in Thugs Of Hindostan. Saurabh Shukla is royally wasted and its major reason is deciding to give him rhyming dialogues without any rhyme or reason.
Shamshera Movie Review: Direction, Music
Karan had revealed that he took 7 months to create an ‘enthralling’ background score along with Mithoon & it translates extremely well on the bassy speakers of the cinema hall. But, only if he had put an equal amount of dedication at the narration & script level as well. The lack of good ideas actually compelled him to keep a ‘crows VS British Army’ fight sequence in the climax.
Have been a die-hard fan of Agneepath, Brothers but this was Karan’s first attempt at a ‘not-already-established’ story and it’s not even completely his fault. His dramatic approach to the story does help to build the required atmosphere but it’s like visiting Leh-Ladakh in a packed car, makes no sense.
The amount of dedication Chinni Prakash has put into Ji Huzoor’s choreography is exactly what the movie’s script needed. None of the songs clicks and even the picturesque visuals of Fitoor are passable in the film due to poor chemistry between the leads.
Shamshera Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Karan Malhotra & YRF witnessed how Thugs Of Hindostan faced the wrath of the Indian audience & still they went ahead to make Sharamshera on a similar template, this is as ambitious as KRK coming with Deshdrohi 2.
One and a half stars!
Shamshera releases on 22 July, 2022.
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Not into period dramas? Read our Hit: The First Case Movie Review if you like on-the-edge thrillers!