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SHERSHAAH is an enthralling and moving tale of courage!

Well-mounted and gorgeously shot near the actual war-region, in the valleys of Kashmir, SHERSHAAH is a well-rounded biopic/war-drama. While the story in itself is inspiring, it’s the brilliant performance from the leading man Sidharth Malhotra which considerably elevates the overall movie-watching experience. Despite its flaws which stem from the typical commercial cinema traps, it’s a good film that deserves to be seen.

SHERSHAAH is the true story of PVC awardee brave Indian soldier - Capt. Vikram Batra whose contributions helped India win the Kargil War of 1999.

Talking of the positives, it’s evident that a decently large amount of research has gone into making of this film, which makes it a good starting point to learn about the Kargil War. It also features actual dialogues spoken by Capt. Batra and even recreates the actual interviews, giving you the feel of the situation, as it was. The other highlight is that the film is shot right where the real action took place in 1999. Shooting in the regions nearby the spots where the actual Kargil war took place, gives you the authentic sense of the conditions, the terrain and the difficulties faced by the soldiers. With this, the film does a great job of recreating the iconic war images. Another fine way with which the film educates the masses, is by illustrating the army’s process of collecting intel, through creation of its own local sources.

But the aspect I liked most, was the subtlety with which patriotism is displayed here. Maintaining a fair distance from the usual jingoism, the film relies on nuanced elements to create the feeling of pride. Be it the scene where there is a close-up of the Pakistani flag lying on the ground as Indian soldiers leap over it, instead of stomping through it. Or the scene where Captain Batra declares the mission’s success as a soldier respectfully takes down the Pakistani flag, folding it into a neat square, shows that patriotism is also about respecting another country’s national flag.

Well, the film is not devoid of flaws. The scenes involving Captain Batra’s love life have the typical bollywoodized treatment, and the story of his childhood and family borders on melodrama. Also, during the war scenes, there’re some long stretches of draggy screenplay, halting the thrills of an otherwise engaging narrative. However, these are minor glitches in an overall well-made product.

Of the actors, it’s Sidharth Malhotra who shines and how. This is finally the performance which resurrects his sinking acting career. Always restrained, yet cheerful, his portrayal of Capt. Vikram Batra is truly superb. You realise how well he played the role, when you see the actual footages of Capt. Batra in the end credits of the film. The supporting unit is appropriately cast and without naming anyone, I would say that all other actors play their supporting roles extremely well.

To sum up, barring some very minor flaws, SHERSHAAH is wonderful war film, which is both riveting as well as enriching. There are very few fine war films made in India, and this is one of them. Go for it!

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