'Shershaah' Movie Review: Capt Vikram Batra's Biopic Is Watchable
Review of Shershaah - the Captain Vikram Batra biopic starring Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani
Shershaah Movie Review: The Captain Vikram Batra Biopic is Watchable
It’s been 22 years since the Kargil war. Shershaah is based on the life of Captain Vikram Batra who bravely fought for the nation and was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously. Now, without this context if we were told the story of a young man who grew up wanting to join the Army, and is so fearless that he charges towards the enemies without a second’s thought for his own safety, a guy so dramatic that when his girlfriend feels a little insecure he cuts his finger with a blade and fills her maang with his own blood, we’d be tempted to find it all so 'filmy ' and unreal, but that’s not so, because this is the real life of our swashbuckling lead hero.
Director Vishnu Varadhan and screenplay writer Sandeep Srivastava therefore remain mostly faithful to the material at hand. For instance, we have a scene where the brother is taking about Capt Batra and a lot of what he says is from the actual speech by Vishal Batra that one can check out on YouTube. Shershaah also has a scene where a TV journalist is interviewing Vikram Batra and he says his famous line “Yeh dil maange more”.
So while all the drama and action make it a natural fit for a mainstream Bollywood film, it’s also what makes a movie around it challenging. We know how things eventually pan out, Capt Batra’s legend lives on, so how does one then ensure the viewers don’t feel like the same facts are being regurgitated on screen. It’s tough to show a person’s entire life story in 2 hours but Shershaah tries very hard. From Vikram’s childhood, to his budding college romance - everything is packed into the film. The problem is for almost half the duration we sit watching in anticipation without anything genuinely gripping to hold us. Kiara, whose character is modelled on Dimple Cheema and Sidharth Malhotra as the strapping young man smitten by her do share an adorable chemistry but it begins to feel too long and unnecessary.
The pace of course picks up with the action sequences. Cinematographer Kamaljeet Negi’s camera captures the urgency and tension, a lot of scenes shot in dim lit frames convey how hostile the conditions are. These are parts that grip us, some we can’t help but see with moist eyes. It's commendable that the tone remains steady and never loud and jingoistic. Sidharth Malhotra who feels more at home in the “peace time” scenes with Kiara Advani does a fairly decent job too as a man in uniform given the limitations of the script. But it’s the ensemble, a fine group of actors from Shataf Figar as the commanding officer, Sahil Vaid as Vikram’s childhood friend, Shiv Pandit, Niketan Dheer, Raj Arjun as members of his regiment who are given the most stale treatment. Their presence seems incidental, simply to prop up the hero of the film which robs Shershaah of some of its charm.
Simplistic storytelling aside there is a certain honesty about Shershaah that touches us. It could have been so much more evocative and compelling but still definitely watchable.
Rating: 3 Quints out of 5
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.