Review: Shershaah is a well made war drama film which will surely fill you with pride as well as make your eyes moist. In this film, Siddharth Malhotra has given the best performance of his career so far.
Sher Shah is the story of a brave Indian soldier who sacrificed his life during the 1999 Indo-Pakistani War. Vikram Batra (Siddharth Malhotra) lives in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh with his parents and his twin brother Vishal Batra. Since childhood, his interest was to join the army. In college, he meets Dimple (Kiara Advani) and falls in love with her. She too falls in love with him and the two get into a relationship. At this juncture, Vikram decides to join the merchant navy instead of the army as the money is good there. One day, when Vikram goes to drop Dimple at home, Dimple’s father (Bijay J Anand) catches him red-handed. He tells Vikram that since he belongs to another caste, he cannot marry Dimple. However, Dimple opposes her father’s statement and also tells her father that Vikram will earn more as he is going to join the merchant navy. Meanwhile, Vikram starts having second thoughts when his best friend Sunny (Sahil Vaid) insists that he should not give up on his dream of joining the army. Vikram tells Dimple about changing his plan. This angers Dimple and she advises him not to change their future planning. Vikram then enrolls in an army institute and is easily successful there. In 1998, he got his first posting in the 13th Jammu and Kashmir Rifles at Sopore. Vikram now becomes a lieutenant. His regiment consists of Lieutenant Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), Naib Sudebar Bansi Lal Sharma (Anil Charanjit), Subedar Raghunath (Raj Arjun), Major Subrata Mukherjee (Abhiroy Singh) and Major Ajay Jasrotia alias Jassi (Niketan Dheer) etc. Vikram proves his worth when he manages to nab a dreaded terrorist, Ataullah (David Brown), who is part of the gang of a rogue terrorist, Haider (Mir Sarwar). Like other soldiers, Vikram also befriends the local people. This friendship helps him in his work. In a risky operation, Vikram leads his team to the hideout and manages to capture and eliminate Haider. Before his death, Haider however warns Vikram that something big and disastrous is soon going to happen. What happens next will be known after watching the rest of the film.
The story of Sandeep Srivastava is well researched and very interesting. Sandeep Srivastava’s screenplay is effective and effortless. The author has packed a lot into 135 minutes and yet has focused well on Vikram Batra’s achievements as an army officer. On the other hand, some developments in the first half are not explained properly. Sandeep Srivastava’s dialogues are conversational but also have the necessary punch. However, the use of abusive language may not appeal to the family audience.
Vishnu Vardhan’s direction is excellent and he handles the film in a very commercial manner. He doesn’t waste any time and only shows those moments which are necessary to move the story forward. Dimple’s father is an important character and here too the director made his character impressive with minimal scenes. The masterstroke in this aspect is with respect to the character of Vishal, the twin brother of Vikram Batra. The action and battle scenes are simple and easy to understand. However, the film gets a bit repetitive in the second half, during the scene where the soldiers are trying to capture strategic points. Also, it is also surprising that when and why Vikram suddenly decides to choose Merchant Navy. The second confusing scene in the film is the scene where Gafoor stops Vikram from meeting Arslan. Earlier Gafoor had contacted Vikram and told him that Arslan was working for terrorists.
Shershaah begins on an unusual and thrilling note. Sher Shah’s childhood and college scenes are lovely. The scene in which Vikram and Dimple final talk is just fine but the setting of Rock Garden makes that scene memorable. The real fun begins when Vikram joins his unit in Sopore and forms a bond with fellow soldiers. The scene where Vikram manages to capture Ataullah and then the conversation with Sanjeev Jamwal is excellent. The sudden attack on the army convoy and the death of Naib Bansilal Sharma is shocking. The scene where Vikram infiltrates Haider’s hideout and kills him is spectacular and would have been appreciated with whistling and clapping in theatres. After the interval, the battle scenes begin and as expected, it is entertaining. Some viewers may complain here as they are watching JP Dutta’s LOC Kargil.  I must have already seen the story of his life. Sher Shah recreates the scene where the Pakistani soldier says that he will leave Indian territory if India gives Madhuri Dixit in return. The last 20-25 minutes are very dynamic and have the potential to moisturise the eyes of the audience. The end credits go on for around 11 minutes as the makers list down the names, photos and the accolades they won from soldiers in Vikram Batra’s Regiment 2. It’s a lovely gesture and apt for a film that beautifully portrays the greatness of the Indian Army.
Sidharth Malhotra gives the best performance of his career so far in this film. Sidharth plays his role with utmost seriousness and perfection and gets into his character completely. He seems to have developed himself as an actor. It is unfortunate that Sher Shah could not release in theatres, if this film had been released in theatres, it would have given a good growth to Siddharth’s career. But still there is no doubt that this film will take Siddharth’s career to a different level as his acting skills are excellent. As expected, Kiara Advani’s role is limited, but she looks lovely and delivers a decent performance. The scene where she reprimands Sidharth for changing his career decision proves that Kiara has also come a long way. Shiv Pandit looks dashing and looks dependable. Anil Charanjit is fair while Raj Arjun makes his presence felt. Abhiroy Singh leaves his mark and suits his character. Niketan Dheer looks fabulous and it is nice to see him on screen after a long time. Sahil Vaid, as always, well done. Bijay J Anand is fine. Mir Sarwar is good but has become stereotyped in such roles. Zahoor Zaidi and Afnan Ashiya are fair in their small roles. Shataf Figar (Lt Col YK Joshi) has an important role to play and gives able support. Krishnay Tuteja (Junior Vikram Batra) and Kavay Tuteja (Junior Vishal Batra) look cute. GL Batra (Pawan Chopra) and Kamal Kanta Batra (Vijay Meenu) don’t get much scope.
The music is average but thankfully the songs are set in the right places. ‘Raata Lambiya’, ‘Ranjha’ and ‘Kabhi Tumse Yaad’ are good. ‘Man Bharya’ is the best of all the songs and plays at a crucial point in the film. ‘Jai Hind Ki Sena’ is not a part of the film. Jon Stewart Eduri’s background score is dramatic and adds to the impact.
Kamaljit Negi’s cinematography is superb and captures the locations of Kashmir beautifully. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty’s production design and Eka Lakhani’s costumes look genuine. The actions of Stephen Richter and Sunil Rodrigues are not too bloody and add to the excitement. Also, the battle scenes are very well set and look very authentic. Red Chillies.VFX’s VFX is good. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is neat.
Overall, Shershaah is a well made war drama film which will surely fill you with pride as well as make your eyes teary. In this film, Siddharth Malhotra has given the best performance of his career so far. Had this film released in theatres, it would have proved to be a huge hit at the box office. The film released just before Independence Day so it is sure to get a decent viewership. Do see it.