FILM REVIEW Shershaah
A well-made biopic of Captain Vikram Batra
By Sunita Vijay
War is an ugly thing. It ruthlessly swallows lives. The remorse, hatred, longings, memories of loved ones, and the nasty shadows linger to haunt for years to come.
The glorious life of Kargil martyr Captain Vikram Batra inspires the movie Shershaah (his codename). He was posthumously awarded India’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra. The film depicts the life of the 24 year young, spirited soldier whose infectious enthusiasm would spread even during everyday conversations with colleagues, family and friends, and the war zone.
As a child, Vikram is fixated with the uniform of a soldier. He joins the Indian army and is posted in J&K. The Kargil War breaks out, and he is sent to the war field leading his troop to destroy the enemy’s bunkers and secure India’s victory. A couple of incidents shown before this highlight his bravery, swiftness, and risk-taking skills – truly heroic scenes that legitimately portray Batra as the epitome of valour. His favourite tagline after each big or small victory is – Yeh dil maange more; the soldier in him perpetually strives for more and more triumphant moments for the country!
The romantic side of Vikram runs in parallel with occasional flashbacks. Here, the film exudes more drama and looks filmy, such as when he cuts his finger and applies sindoor on his girlfriend’s forehead with blood from the wound. The interactions between Vikram and Dimple (Kiara Advani) and with his juniors are sweet. When his junior reveals during a night patrol that he will hold his six-month-old daughter for the first time, it almost sounds ominous, and we get a hint of what is coming next. He tells his friend that he will surely come back either by wearing the Tricolour or else wrapped in it. The predictive hints and weak writing subtly reveal the succeeding moments at many places.
Shershaah is directed by Vishnuvardhan. It is engaging, except for skinny writing that fails to consolidate the war events with the running political scenario focusing mainly on typical seen/heard chats between soldiers and officers, the sternness, discipline, how they miss their family and call of the war, blood, broken bones, etc. The intention to arouse emotions and to evoke tears is obvious. Nevertheless, the war scenes are hair-raising and seem genuine. The hand-held camera shots capture the war brilliantly. The director succeeds in agitating the right emotions and makes one empathise with the plight of fighting soldiers in that harsh terrain.
Siddharth is all over the place and is given the most charming dialogues that befit his amiable character. He creates an adorable bond with anyone, anywhere. When he loses his comrade in a shootout, he promises to himself that, in future, the bullet that is meant for him will hit him first, and none will die saving his life. This kind of confidence can come only from a brave heart, and Siddharth goes deep into the character’s skin. Losing a life like his fills the heart with remorse. Siddharth does full justice to the role, and each cell of his personality looks fauji. His expressions during war scenes are exemplary, especially in the climax.
Kiara Advani, as Dimple, emotes the right feelings in all kinds of scenes, whether romantic, during a heated argument with her father, or while mourning Vikram’s death.
Shiv Panditt, as Vikram’s contemporary, playing another brave-heart Capt Sanjeev Jamwal, has a tough exterior but is a good human inside. His energies are positive. He is brave yet not rash. His bonding with Vikram is rough initially, but later it gets converted into an affable bond.
The cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi is delightful. The palpable tension in Kashmir, the scenic place resounding with exchange of fire, the challenging topography of Kargil peaks towering menacingly at 17000 ft, all shots have been captured well. The efforts of Vishnuvardhan are sincere, with pleasing music accentuating the effect. The romantic song could have been avoided or kept short. As an above-average film, it is afflicted by the mundanity of the war films, seen earlier, barring films like Uri that had many novel ideas to present. Although the writing is a bit enervated, most of the dialogues are pleasing.
Shershaah is a recommendable watch, a combination of heart-rending war scenes and easy-breezy romance. Yet, it failed to touch on many core issues like the prevalent political scenario, Kashmir’s plight, the helplessness of residents and the difficulty our soldiers faced in Kashmir and in war.
Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, during which he led one of the most difficult mountain warfare operations in Indian history. His role in capturing Pt. 4875 was so decisive that it ultimately won India the Kargil War. The biopic is inspiring and generates loads of respect for our men in uniform who embrace duty as vibrant, lively persons and come back home lifeless, wrapped in the Tricolour. The loads of respect they generate for being there for the country against all odds is something that Shershaah successfully portrays and must be applauded for.
Rajesh Negi congratulates Boxwala, team ‘Shershaah’ for wonderful film
By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 19 Aug: Rajesh Negi, a well known businessman and educationist from Dehradun has congratulated his close friend and one of the producers of the Bollywood film Shershaah, Shabbir Boxwala, for a ‘wonderfully’ made film. In a message to Boxwala, who has produced this film along with Dharma Films, Negi has congratulated him and the entire crew of the film Shershaah, which has been recently released on OTT.
The film is a biopic based on the real story of Captain Vikram Batra, Param Vir Chakra, who had laid down his life for the country during the Kargil war in 1999.
Negi stated that Boxwala, whose baby the film was, had initially planned to shoot the film in Dehradun and Uttarakhand and had even visited IMA during the summer passing out to look for possibilities of shooting the film there. However, the film script required the winter passing out scenes and, therefore, Boxwala ultimately had to shoot the scenes in Kargil. Boxwala had visited and conducted a recce of some locations in Dehradun but had to finally shoot the film in other places.
Negi, who found the film to be wonderful and inspiring, noted that he would have loved to see the film being shot in Dehradun and Uttarakhand but this could not happen. Nevertheless the film had been picturised beautifully and the entire crew deserved big applause for the same. Negi added that the film had touched upon the life of Kargil Martyr Vikram Batra very soulfully.