by Ferry Bhatia
(Amritsar, Punjab, India)
Shershaah Movie Review: Yeh Dil Maange More…..
Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani
Shershaah unfolds is this: a well-deserved war hero a far more engaging and energetic film. It is a suitably solemn, restrained account of the short lived life and career of a 25-year-old Army Captain who perished fighting in the 1999 Kargil war, but it takes inordinately long to get anywhere near full throttle.
Captain Vikram Batra’s, “SHERSHAAH”exploits as an officer and a gentleman add up to a narrative that resorts more to broad strokes than to delving into the nuances of the titular hero's evolution as the extraordinarily brave man he became.
The Vishnu Varadhan-directed war film and co-produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions and streaming on Amazon Prime Video, strings together pieces of a life carved out of documented details and arranged within a drearily linear structure.
Lead actor “Sidharth Malhotra” has what it takes to flesh out a real-life martyr who has left behind a larger-than-life aura, but the evolution of the character's tough-as-nails personality that lies at the base of his battlefield. Captain Batra, codenamed Shershaah ahead of a key operation during the Kargil war, gave the world the catchline "Yeh dil maange more". The movie about him and his brief life, gloomily, does not possess the propulsive supremacy to leave you asking for more.
Shershaah, scripted by Sandeep Shrivastava, looks to tap into the tragedy of a life cut short by war, as also into the guts and glory inherent in Captain Batra's supreme sacrifice. It, however, uses unadventurous methods to craft a story that, in large measure, has been in the public domain for two decades and a bit. So, there aren't any startling revelations that Shershaah has in store for the audience.
As a boy yet to step into his teen years, Vikram fights off a bully who refuses to return a cricket ball. His father, a schoolteacher in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, takes his son to task and wonders if he will end up a ruffian. Unperturbed, Vikram pipes up: "Meri cheez mere se koi nahi chheen sakta (Nobody can snatch what belongs to me)."
The boy begins to wear battle fatigues to parties and social gatherings to the embarrassment of the rest of his family. But the boy's mind is made up. He lets everyone around him know that he will be a soldier defending the nation's borders one day.
Dimple Cheema is a Sardarni. Her father is dead against his daughter having anything to do with a Punjabi Khatri boy. But remember, nobody can take away what Vikram Batra sets his sights on. The love affair, however, hits a roadblock when Vikram is caught in two minds over the future course of his life.
With Dimple on his mind, he is no longer sure whether he should pursue his childhood dream of joining the army or settle for a high-salaried Merchant Navy job. In the end, no prizes for guessing, he makes the right decision egged on a bit by his beloved and by his best pal Sunny (Sahil Vaid).
"Live by chance, love by choice and kill by profession" is Vikram's motto as a soldier. Even as the loss of his mates in the course of the war upsets him, he does not stop. In fact, he vows that he will do everything in his power to prevent casualties on the Indian side.
"No one will die on my watch again," the brave 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles lieutenant tells Captain Sanjeev "Jimmy" Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), six months his senior in the Indian Army. "If there is any casualty other than the enemy, it'll be me," Vikram says. Mercifully, Shershaah does not resort to chest-thumping and flag-waving. It celebrates an intrepid soldier. The hero isn't, however, given to either superficial swagger or bellicose bravado. He is the sort of clear-headed guy who knows what he has got to do and chips away at it with unwavering intent.xxxxx