Are we being too hard on Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera, in the wake of South dominion over Bollywood? Here’s our take.
Guess the movie
An underdog warrior who has been trained by his uncle, understands the legacy of his father and fights a ruthless antagonist to free his mother who has been enslaved.
A brave tribal warrior who lives in a jungle and fights against Britishers. He is brutally hit by a hunter while his people watch him.
A hero who has a special bond with his mother and is trying to acquire all the gold he can. A hero who stands up for people who have been enslaved in a concentration camp-like area and they rise together to fight their tormentors when the hero vanquishes the evil villain. A band of kids keep glorifying the hero and spread tales of his valour.
A hero who is not fair, muscular, clean shaven and stylish, but bearded, unkempt, and untidy. His only strength – his brain and his courage. His biggest nemesis – a corrupt police official.
A hero who climbs a wall which no one can scale and jumps out for his independence and fights the enemy. He has a special bond with birds who come to his rescue when he is in trouble.
A God-like hero who wields an axe and fights to protect his land and people.
The movie I am talking about is all of this together – Shamshera.
Shamshera is in no way a copy of the movies mentioned above. It is a classic coming-of-age tale of an underdog. A man who realises the importance of his legacy and rises for the independence of his people.
Ranbir Kapoor, who has never done an out-and-out action film, does not disappoint. In fact, he brings out the perfect balance of courage and vulnerability in the character of Balli. Sanjay Dutt redeems himself after an off-note performance in Samrat Prithviraj. In fact, in many ways, his portrayal and his conflict with Ranbir’s character reminds one of Kaancha and Vijay from Agneepath. Vaani Kapoor, Ronit Roy, Iravati Harshe have strong screen presence and have delivered in their limited screen time.
Karan Malhotra, the director of Agneepath, Brothers and Shamshera, always creates a brutal, painful world for his characters. His visualisation of the Kaza fort where Balli and his tribe members are tortured transports you to a dusty dark world. With his subtle statement on caste-led conflict, you see Karan Malhotra growing as a filmmaker here. The music of Mithoon is rousing and each song is weaved into the story. A long-running time and slightly inconsistent character arc of Balli may bring down the movie a bit, but Shamshera even with its flaws, is no way a dud.
I am a South Indian with an ample appetite for larger-than-life action entertainers. Just like any other viewer, I have watched Baahubali, RRR, KGF, Pushpa and similar movies with an open heart and loved them.
So, I only have one question – Are we guilty of hypocrisy when we laud Amarendra Baahubali, Bheem, Rocky, Pushpa and dismiss Shamshera without giving him a chance? Only time will tell.