Shershaah Review: Sidharth Malhotra pulls off the valour and flamboyance of Vikram Batra; Kiara Advani shines

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Shershaah movie cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A. Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett,
Shershaah movie director: Vishnuvardhan
Bubble movie rating: 3.5 stars

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

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Biopics and sports drama have honestly become a staple and a success formula in Bollywood today. But, not every story strikes the same chord with the audience. Does Shershaah manage to move me? Let’s find out. When I first heard of Captain Vikram Batra’s story is being made into a movie, I always wondered what aspects of his life would be touched upon to make it an interesting watch. Let’s say director Vishnu and writer Shailesh have done their research right and touched upon important achievements and milestones from Vikram Batra’s life. From being a Lieutenant to being promoted as the Captain and leading a pack during Kargil War, Vikram Batra was called the Lion King. His achievements, his love story, his strength of character and valour are celebrated with sensitivity in Shershaah.

Apart from Vikram’s life, the makers have also subtly highlighted the sacrifice that an army officer’s family endures in such intense situation. We almost never talk about it, do we? Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani starrer Shershaah keeps shifting pace between war zone reality to matters of love, as they trace the life journey of Param Vir Chakra awardee and army captain Vikram Batra in the biographic war drama.

It is rare that a biography on an army officer does justice to the individuality of the character. Captain Vikram Batra was yes, a brave officer, but he was also a vulnerable and flamboyant son, a dramatic lover boy and a warm hearted human being. Shershaah dabbles with these aspects of Captain Batra, sometimes becoming overbearing as well but nonetheless giving us an insight into what Captain Batra was like. Sidharth Malhotra plays a double role for the first time in his career with Shershaah, that of Batra and his identical twin Vishal Batra. A lot of firsts for Sidharth in this movie, his first biopic, the first time he wears the uniform in a movie and also his first movie with Kiara Advani.

Sidharth Malhotra has definitely not taken the role for granted. For an introverted person to transform into this flamboyant officer who dramatically uses blood as sindoor to marry his lady love or propose marriage to her in the most Bollywood-ish way is not easy. Sidharth’s honest efforts are apparent. He has also worked on his dialect to give a Punjabi edge since Captain Anayra hailed from Palampur, Punjab. He transforms swiftly between being an army officer with a rugged look to being the normal boy from Palampur who is head over heels for Dimple Cheema, played by Kiara Advani. Sidharth is not effortless while he shifts gear between playing Vikram, an army officer and Vikram, the lover boy, but his honesty and sincerity is palpable. The makers tried to create the 90s look for him in parts with Dimple but it instantly reminded me of Sidharth from Hasee Toh Phasee, it is one of his best performances, isn’t it? The physical transformation of Sidharth can also be seen and full marks for all the efforts.

 

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Kiara Advani as Dimple was effortless. She brought vulnerability and power to Dimple. For me, Kiara stole the show in the climax scene truly. The way she portrayed the emotional graph and grief of a woman losing the love of his life, it was impeccable.

 

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Honestly, though the screenplay somehow felt stretched and abrupt to me. The transition between timelines was not smooth and bumps invariably make you feel exhausted. The storytelling couldn’t engage me beyond a point with dialogues lacking precision and conviction. The war zone locations added the much-needed credibility to the story but somehow the impact couldn’t be felt. I was not drawn or hooked to the screens and the 2 and 15 hours seemed longer than it was. It is only in the last 15 minutes that you get hooked to the story and truly gets invested in Captain Batra’s story. It is not the actor’s fault, they have played their parts decently, even the supporting characters are noticeable but the screenplay is exhausting.

For a war biography, cinematography plays the most important role. I have to give it to director Vishu for capturing the locations beautifully. In the climax scene, they have tried to recreate the steep inclined mountain Road where the war took place. The visuals and the camera work is great in these parts. Although, for someone who has grown up watching and properly weeping after watching Border, I failed to find an emotional investment in Shershaah.

 

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Nonetheless, Shershaah is an honest effort by Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani. Watch it to see Sidharth deliver a notable performance.

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Sidharth Malhotra on battling career lows while being an outsider: You have to handle so many egos, honesty is not appreciated