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The story is about Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra), son of a teacher, who grows up with the dream of serving his country someday. He’s so obsessed with the army uniform that he wears it on every occasion in his school. He grows up to prepare for his dream & right before giving the exams, and he falls in love with a very simple Dimple (Kiara Advani).
On the verge of sacrificing his ‘army’ dream to choose Merchant Navy for more money (to impress the girl’s dad), Vikram is rightly advised by his friend Sunny (Sahil Vaid). He leaves to become the lieutenant and earns respect among his team members by capturing dreadful terrorists around. With his current regiment, he goes into the Kargil War facing Pakistani militants ambushing the LOC. Recapturing two of the main points, Vikram Batra leads his team, giving the entire country a reason to celebrate, which today is known as ‘Vijay Divas’ (16th December).
Given the subject, it’s too easy to find yourself over the line making your characters scream loud patriotic dialogues adding too much melodrama (read: Bollywood’ising) to the real events. But, Srivastava’s script sails smooth, touching all the usual Bollywood army-movies cliches & not holding them for a long time. The love story part started on a very convincing note but eventually had me hooked. The climax takes up the film a notch higher, helping it to end on a high note.
The natural question to ask is, is this Sidharth Malhotra’s best? I’m really still torn between this & Ek Villian because that had more depth. Vikram Batra indeed gives a tough fight with Sidharth, not only nailing the character’s tone but also his quirky personality. Watch the end-credits, which has an interview of the OG Vikram Batra (PVC) & you’ll realise how amazingly well Sidharth has embodied him in the film’s same scene. The charm of Sid allows him to bring the heroic magnetism Vikram Batra had. He would’ve been proud of Sidharth Malhotra today, as we all are!
Kiara Advani beautifully fits in as the protagonist’s love interest. The eternal cuteness in her gives the character an alluring touch. Despite the limited screen-presence, the makers never let us forget the importance of Dimple in Vikram’s life. Shiv Pandit as Jimmy has a few good scenes, but apart from that is a wasted opportunity. Jimmy’s character needed more depth and a greater connection with Vikram Batra for an even better impact. I was so happy for Sahil Vaid when the film started thinking he’ll finally get his due, but no. He has an extremely limited role.
Vishnu Varadhan’s first foray into Bollywood has all the ingredients of being one of the stylishly presented war dramas. John Stewart Eduri’s background score is powerful & rhythmic but is hunted by the absence of one good theme. B Praak fans would’ve been surprised by their lifetime towards the climax.
Shershaah is a Sidharth Malhotra show all the way. This would have set the box office on fire! A film from Sidharth Malhotra to cement his stardom & fan following!