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Shershaah: Capturing Heroics of Vikram Batra

Stuti Sardana

Stuti SardanaSep 13, 2021, 06:24 PM IST

Shershaah: Capturing Heroics of Vikram Batra
Shershaah

 

Chronicling the events in the run-up to the Kargil war, the film focuses on Captain Vikram Batra, whose obsession for the Army in school to his heroics in the battlefield have been portrayed in a realistic manner  

 

The story is about a decent young boy from Palampur, Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra), son of a teacher, who grows up with the dream of serving his country someday. He’s so obsessed with the Army uniform that he wears it on every occasion in his school. He grows up to prepare for his dream and right before giving the exams, he falls in love with a very simple girl Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani). The film chronicles the events in the run-up to the Kargil war and the role of Captain Vikram Batra, whose indomitable spirit and unparalleled courage contributed immensely to India’s victory.

We are taken back to a childhood sequence of Captain Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) and shown his growing up years, finding the love of his life Dimple Cheema, before he is finally posted at the 13 JAK Rifles as a Lieutenant. While this build-up depicts the character’s journey, it doesn’t justify the screen time taken.

On the verge of sacrificing his Army dream to choose Merchant Navy for more money (to impress the girl’s dad), Vikram is rightly advised by his friend Sunny (Sahil Vaid) not to do so. He  becomes Lieutenant and earns respect among his team members by capturing dreadful terrorists around. With his current regiment, he goes into the Kargil War facing Pakistani militants ambushing the LOC. Recapturing two of the main points, Vikram Batra leads his team, giving the entire country a reason to celebrate, which today is known as ‘Vijay Divas’ (December 16).

Based on Captain Vikram Batra’s short but stirring life, director Vishnu Varadhan’s Kargil War drama Shershaah, is a sincere film supported by a romantic subplot and a script that's terrified of scraping beneath the surface

About an hour into Shershaah, it goes like this- Vikram Batra and his comrade Bansi (Anil Charanjeett) are on night patrol in Jammu & Kashmir, where they are posted on the sidelines of a brewing war with Pakistan, and the duo has a heart-to-heart conversation. Bansi shows a picture of his daughter, Durga, and says that he will carry her in his arms for the first time, when he goes home post-war. Affected by Bansi’s choice of words, Batra melts and promises to open an FD in his daughter’s name, to secure a future for her.

Captain Vikram Batra didn’t need an inciting incident to inspire him, he didn’t come from a family of war veterans. And as far back as he could remember, all he wanted to do was become a ‘fauji’. Based on his short but stirring life, director Vishnu Varadhan’s Kargil War drama Shershaah, is a sincere film supported by a romantic subplot and a script that's terrified of scraping beneath the surface.

We have seen shades of Kargil War being portrayed multiple times in Bollywood movies before, and this is among the best ones. Writer Sandeep Srivastava keeps things pretty much in limits. The sweet romance doesn’t get too much in between the much-controlled border-drama and unfiltered action. Even the subject sails smoothly, touching all the usual Bollywood Army-movies cliches and not holding them for a long time, without making characters scream loud patriotic dialogues and adding too much melodrama to the real events. The love story part started on a very convincing note and the climax takes up the film a notch higher, helping it to end on a high note.

Sidharth Malhotra shines in the war scenes and his performance evolves through the film. He makes great efforts to recreate the aura of his character’s life persona on the big screen. This is one of his best performances. Kiara Advani looks her part as a resolute Sardarni, who loves her man with all her heart. But she doesn’t have much scope to perform. Shiv Pandit has been very aptly cast as Captain Sanjeev Jamwal, who is tough on the outside, but emotional from inside. 

 

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