Star Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Nikitin Dheer, Sahil Vaid, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Raj Arjun
Director: Vishnu Varadhan
What’s Good: Every single department comes with something valuable to add to the overall product, from acting to cinematography to music to screenplay
What’s Bad: Comes with the usual army-movies cliches, dialogues could’ve been better… not louder… better
Loo Break: The pace won’t let you hit that pause button very often (many may differ here with the initial romantic track, but ‘ruko zara… sabar karo’ it eventually grows)
Watch 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 someday. He’s so obsessed with the army uniform that he wears it on every occasion in his school. He grows up to prepare for his dream & right before giving the exams, and he falls in love with a very simple Dimple (Kiara Advani).
On the verge of sacrificing his ‘army’ dream to choose Merchant Navy for more money (to impress the girl’s dad), Vikram is rightly advised by his friend Sunny (Sahil Vaid). He leaves to become the lieutenant and earns respect among his team members by capturing dreadful terrorists around. With his current regiment, he goes into the Kargil War facing Pakistani militants ambushing the LOC. Recapturing two of the main points, Vikram Batra leads his team, giving the entire country a reason to celebrate, which today is known as ‘Vijay Divas’ (16th December).
Shershaah Movie Review: Script Analysis
One beautiful thing about such subjects is you get to be informative, but at times that information could actually get too known to inform through a film. We’ve seen shades of Kargil War been portrayed multiple times in Bollywood movies before, and this is one of the superior ones. Coming from the Kabir Singh school of filmmaking, writer Sandeep Srivastava (New York, additional dialogue for Kabul Express) keeps things pretty much in limits. The cliched-but-cute romance doesn’t get too much in between the much-controlled border-drama & unfiltered action.
Given the subject, it’s too easy to find yourself over the line making your characters scream loud patriotic dialogues adding too much melodrama (read: Bollywood’ising) to the real events. But, Srivastava’s script sails smooth, touching all the usual Bollywood army-movies cliches & not holding them for a long time. The love story part started on a very convincing note but eventually had me hooked. The climax takes up the film a notch higher, helping it to end on a high note.
When you pen a movie around such a celebrated name, you’ve to bear the consequences of ‘people know it all’. Kamaljeet Negi’s impressive camerawork helps to showcase the tensions intended by Srivastava’s script. There are many ‘suspense revealing’ shots in which Negi does magic with how he pans the camera. One sequence in which you can feel the superior camerawork is the fight sequence between Sidharth Malhotra & Mir Sarwar’s character Haider; just watch that scene again for Kamaljeet Negi. Veteran editor A. Sreekar Prasad restricts the film to its best runtime possible, i.e. 135 mins.
Shershaah Movie Review: Star Performance
The natural question to ask is, is this Sidharth Malhotra’s best? I’m really still torn between this & Ek Villian because that had more depth. Vikram Batra indeed gives a tough fight with Sidharth, not only nailing the character’s tone but also his quirky personality. Watch the end-credits, which has an interview of the OG Vikram Batra (PVC) & you’ll realise how amazingly well Sidharth has embodied him in the film’s same scene. The charm of Sid allows him to bring the heroic magnetism Vikram Batra had. He would’ve been proud of Sidharth Malhotra today, as we all are!
Kiara Advani beautifully fits in as the protagonist’s love interest. The eternal cuteness in her gives the character an alluring touch. Despite the limited screen-presence, the makers never let us forget the importance of Dimple in Vikram’s life. Shiv Pandit as Jimmy has a few good scenes, but apart from that is a wasted opportunity. Jimmy’s character needed more depth and a greater connection with Vikram Batra for an even better impact.
I was so happy for Sahil Vaid when the film started thinking he’ll finally get his due, but no. He has an extremely limited role in which he’s brilliant but “yeh dil maange more!” Out of the rest of the team members, Nikitin Dheer, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar & Raj Arjun stand out from the rest.
Shershaah Movie Review: Direction, Music
Vishnu Varadhan’s first foray into Bollywood has all the ingredients of being as one of the stylishly presented war dramas. Vishnu doesn’t take an easy & linear route to explain the events, and he starts with the end. Carefully without touching any landmines of pop nationalism or jingoism, Vishnu keeps things straight to the point. Lack of good dialogues, in a way, becomes a roadblock for his seamless direction.
John Stewart Eduri’s background score is powerful & rhythmic but is hunted by the absence of one good theme. B Praak fans would’ve surprise of their lifetime towards the climax. Bro-tip: Keep your tissues handy.
Shershaah Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, people after watching this are going to ask Sidharth Malhotra, “Yeh Dil maange more!” But this reminds me of another Pepsi slogan, “Mera number kab aayega?” because this is a Sidharth show all the way. Yet another week, yet another film that could have set the box office on fire.
Three and a half stars!
Shershaah releases on 12th August 2021.
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