Movie Review: ‘Shershaah’ (Amazon Prime)

Kirat Raj Singh



‘Shershaah’, the cinematic retelling of Indian war hero Captain Vikram Batra, released today directly on Amazon Prime. Starring Sidharth Malhotra as the Indian Army officer who died during active service in 1999, and Kiara Advani as Dimple Cheema, the fiancé of Captain Batra, the film follows the life of the young Punjabi boy from Palampur who dreams of becoming an Army Officer when he grows up.

Having secured his place at the Indian Military Academy, Batra then goes on to be commissioned in the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles Regiment, stationed in the heart of insurgency operations in Kashmir. The crux of the film revolves around the Kargil war, whilst a sub-plot tells the love story of Batra and Cheema who met and fell in love whilst students at Punjab University, Chandigarh.

Portraying a lived experience on the silver screen is never easy, especially that of someone who was within living memory. But both Malhotra and Advani do an incredible job in bringing their respective characters to life, with the chemistry between them a highlight of the film despite the limited screen time they share. The songs Raataan Lambiyan and Ranjha further strengthens this romanticism, pulling at the heartstrings of all who listen to them.

The film also has familiar faces such as Shiv Pandit, Nikitin Dheer, Himanshu Malhotra and Raj Arjun in supporting roles, but unfortunately none are able to make an impact due to limitations of their roles. The direction by Vishnuvardhan and the cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi, however, more than makes up for it with some shots allowing the viewer to immerse themselves into the scenes, sharing the love, joy and grief showcased through various parts of the film. The director and cinematographer deserve extra plaudits for showcasing the war scenes, towards the climax of the film, in a detailed manner which captured the right amounts of fear, fervour and soul-stirring.

Overall, ‘Shershaah’ is a patriotic film but thankfully without the usual over preachy-ness that Bollywood has unfortunately come to be known for. Instead it creates an affability between the audience and the on-screen Captain Batra, who’s indomitable spirit and bravery undoubtedly will inspire generations to come. Ironically, Captain Batra’s call sign during the battles was ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ (This heart wants more) – an emotion which the audience will definitely relate to once they watch this film!

A game changer in the careers of both Malhotra and Advani, it is a shame it was not released in cinemas. Nevertheless, a must watch.