To make a movie on a subject that is etched in the memory of anyone who was alive during 1999, is both easy and tough. Easy because all you need to do is capture the facts that are easily available, tough because no matter what angle you choose to present it, it will always fall short.
Shershah, titled after the code name of the 24 year young war hero CaptainVikram Batra is one such tribute to the man whose life was nothing short of extraordinary.
A young boy who is unafraid of fighting for what is rightfully his, grows up to realize his childhood dream of joining the ‘Fauj’. We witness his early acts of bravery, followed by a romantic subplot, with songs, separation and the works. Till here the narrative follows the template of any such war film. Everytime you see a character being given an extra dialogue or an emotional angle, you know he won’t make it far ahead. But despite its familiarity the treatment of Shershah is distinct,at its heart it stays committed to documenting the remarkable life of late Captain Batra beyond the D-day. Unlike the obvious comparison with URI, this film consciously stays away from being loud with its jingoisim. It is made with a lot of restraint. It does not boil your blood with hatred or revenge, it instead chooses to stay poignant.
Sidharth Malhotra as the handsome, jolly, palampur ka seedha sadha launda fits the bill for this character perfectly on paper. This might be his career best performance although that doesn’t guarantee anything extraordinary considering the benchmark isn’t very high. Having said that, full points to him for a very sincere attempt.
Kiara Advani as Dimple gives a heartfelt performance. If we excuse her for Bollywoodish pujabi limited to the vocab of a Guru Randhawa song, she is extremely likeable as Dimple.
In filming of the war scene, capturing the inhabitable peaks of Kashmir, the camouflaging armies on both the side, the camera work and background score is highly effective, yet not over the top.
Special mention to the music by Tanishk Bagchi, which I never thought I would say but is soothing to the ears for a change .
Narrating real events and using the exact words that were spoken, the film tries to stays authentic to re-telling this story without succumbing to the conventions of Bollywood. In an attempt to capture multiple such events, it gives a sense of imbalance of pace and lack of detailing. As a result, the film has its strong moments but it might feel less powerful in its entirety.
Shershah is a well made film that defies the format of this genre. The last scenes and the end credits are sure to leave a lump in your throat and a sense of pride.
Definitely worth a watch this independence day.
Going with 3.5/5