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Shershaah Review: Sidharth Malhotra Soldiers On to tell the Valiant Story

It’s been more than a year’s wait and Shershaah finally sees the light of day as the film streams on Amazon Prime Video, despite planned for a theatrical release.

Sharing a few words on the release, producer Karan Johar says: “Shershaah is the true story of a war hero whose indomitable spirit and bravery brought victory to our nation.

His sacrifices are invaluable and his life is an inspiration for generations to come. We are extremely glad to have found a home for what I believe is a true cinematic marvel, in Amazon Prime Video and are excited to mark the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship with them.

Shershaah is our homage to the valour of our soldiers and I hope every viewer’s heart swells with pride watching this film.”

The film marks Vishnu Varadhan’s first Hindi directorial and is a story of valour, love and sacrifice – all inspired by the life of Captain Vikram Batra (PVC).

The film celebrates his valiant spirit and honours his invaluable sacrifice in the Kargil War of 1999, for which he was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Dialogues like “I’m not going to lecture you on patriotism. You’re here because you are patriotic” set the premise of Shershaah. Such lines promise that it is about implementing patriotic words into action.

The movie prides upon celebrating the valour of the Indian army. But as valiant as Mr Batra’s life story is, sadly the film’s writing is underwhelming (in my opinion) and adheres to formulaic tropes.

There seems to be more of an onus on presenting his romantic life rather than other major aspects of it. The fact that it is narrated by Vishal Batra, Vikram’s twin brother, there is hardly a sequence showing the rapport between them both.

Moreover, the first half begins quite weakly and at a slow pace. It only picks up during the latter part of the movie and even then, there are instances where heroism is overtly presented in a ‘filmy’ way.

During such cliched scenes, the importance of the context gets diluted. When it comes to the direction, however, Vishnu Varadhan endeavours to maintain realism and yet exude visual appeal.

A scene where a young Vikram Batra rides on his bike and sees soldiers marching past him, it beautifully shot – conveying his ambition of getting into the Army. That sequence almost foreshadows his future self.

Even during the war sequences, the camera work is delicately handled. Rather than making it into a video-game format, it seems as though the camera is shot from the perspective of the soldiers. This engages the viewer and makes the experience immersive.

Enriching the visual appeal, a special mention also goes to the background score which is cutting-edge and pulsating. The music exudes audacity, suspense and vulnerability, all at once and contributes well to the overall cinematic interpretation.

Undoubtedly, Sidharth Malhotra has put his best foot forward for playing such a gallant personality and the twin brother.

For me, he particularly stands out during the battle and intense scenes. We see a very seamless transition from a very young, vivacious lover to a disciplined and courageous cadet.

He tries his best to essay the character in a real yet ordinary manner and for that, he deserves respect. He is, of course, the highlight of the film.

Kiara Advani is sheer joy to watch on screen. We’ve seen her essay Sardaarnis before in films like Kabir Singh and Good Newwz, but here, we see Advani as solid support for her soldier husband. Whether it’s the jovial or heartbroken mood, Kiara is effortless in displaying each emotion.

Of course, their chemistry is endearing too and Raatan Lambiyaan is a beautiful song that will stay in the hearts of viewers for many years to come.

Overall, Shershaah works in parts especially the war sequences which pay tribute to the Indian Army as well as the emotional quotients. In fact, there were times when I teared up and couldn’t help but chant “Jai Hind!”

The biggest shortcoming, I feel, is the weak screenplay and writing. It lacks depth, development and daring. With Vishnu Varadhan’s vision and Sidharth Malhotra’s sincerity to the role, they definitely step up and take lead to fulfil the gaps.

Deserves a watch for Captain Vikram Batra’s bravery. We need to remember his name and glorious contribution to his country.

⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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