Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions produced two biopics around the Kargil War in the last two years, Gunjan Saxena and Shershaah. Sadly, only one was a biopic, the other is a mere recreation.
Shershaah, directed by debutant director Vishnu Vardhan, is a biopic on the life of Late Captain Vikram Batra (Param Vir Chakra) who was aptly code named ‘Shershaah’ during the Kargil operations. There are true stories of valor and bravado and then there is Late Captain Vikram Batra’s (Param Vir Chakra) story of martyrdom that India is so proud of.
It would be incredibly fascinating to get into the mind of a soldier who was just not afraid to face death, whose success signal after killing an entire Pakistani troop was, “Yeh Dil Maange More”. What is the germ for this thought or this approach to life. How did his mind work? And how did an ordinary Vikram Batra from Palampur become Captain Vikram Batra. Unfortunately, Shershaah delves into none of that.
Yes, it surely rides high on action and jingoism with gripping war sequences and a specifically emotional last act but ends up serving only as an episodic recap to all that happened in the 1999 war. Sadly it doesn’t go beyond the surface and so, forces me to bring up another Dharma biopic that released last year, Gunjan Saxena, which so effortlessly took us through the journey of Gunjan as a human as she was on her way to serve in the war.
Do this as an exercise. Look up Late Captain Vikram Batra on the wikipedia page after watching the film and you’ll realize that you’ve read the entire film. There was nothing in the film that was not on wikipedia. However, Sidharth Malhotra as Shershaah was highly impressive. He changed his demeanor to look the part, which is commendable. Kiara Advani as Captain Batra’s love interest was good but her role wasn’t meaty enough. The film is technically very sound. Good camera work and interesting editing as the story cuts back and forth.
Shershaah is meant to be an ode to the soldiers and martyrs of the ’99 Kargil War and it is successful in that regard, to a large extent. But a biopic that answers ‘what?’ more than ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ always leaves you wanting for more.
As they say, a delicious topping over an ordinary ice-cream doesn’t make the entire experience enjoyable, does it! You can watch Shershaah on Amazon Prime.
[Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video]