Perhaps you might’ve heard the slogan ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ when Pepsi flashed its advertisement on your television or mobile screen. But the inception of this slogan began in the passionate veins of one brave man in India, who sacrificed his life for the protection of our country. In 1999, Captain Vikram Batra, the bravest man in India, sacrificed his life fighting the Pakistan Army in Kargil for which he was posthumously awarded India’s highest military honour, the Param Vir Chakra.

And the movie, Shershaah, directed by Vishnu Varadhan and written by Sandeep Shrivastava is all about him. A peek into the journey of Captain’s life, is enough to stir the emotions of nationalism and patriotism, love and unity, grief and mourning. 

If you haven’t watched the film yet, and are wondering why they’ve titled it such, then you must know that the title comes from the codename Captain Batra received in Kargil. 

What is the Shershaah movie about?

The movie stars Sidharth Malhotra as Captain Vikram Batra and Kiera Advani as his girlfriend Dimple Cheema. The narrative revolves around Batra’s college life and his death at the age of 25. Without being clichéd and predictable, the narrative grips the audience with Captain Vikram Batra’s combat strategy sessions and not to mention his innocence which is charming and unique at the same time.  

Photo credits: Newshub

Shershaah’s simplicity is the one thing that is praised and criticized at the same time. Although the movie does not span long, its adherence to a simple style of narration is not successful in creating an indelible impression in the minds of the audience. This simple form of narration is not only confined to the main plot of the movie but is also adhered to by the sub-plot that focuses upon the relationship between Dimple Cheema (Kiera Advani) and Batra. Developing their story with conventional dialogues and romanticizing it with songs is a bit too simplified and trite. 

Subplot: The love story of Dimple Cheemu and Vikram Batra

Be that as it may, the love story of Dimple Cheema and Captain Vikram Batra is not portrayed as a bed of roses completely. The writer has tried to shed light on the chasm between the Hindus and Sikhs during that era through the disapproval of Dimple’s father, who was a Sikh, to allow his daughter to marry a guy from another community. 

Apart from drawing the line between reality and pretence concerning the different communities that reside in India, the retaliation of Dimple’s character against her father’s disapproval also sort of outlines a feministic tone in the movie and makes the audience acknowledge Dimple’s determination and love for Vikram Batra. 

In addition, the movie also unveils the deeply-rooted traditions that proclaim one married to another, through their love story. Throughout the movie, the audience is left wondering whether Vikram Batra and Dimple Cheema married each other or not. Contrary to the common perception, the movie explains the importance and the beauty, rather than leaving some loose ends untied, through the pure and innocent love story of Vikram Batra and Dimple Cheema.

Representation of communities:

In comparison to other nationalistic movies, Shershaah does not contain a tone of animosity and hostility against Pakistan. At no point has the movie dehumanised or even demonised the Muslims, which is extremely commendable. 

The movie also portrays a short media clip that involves the announcement of the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which nodded in the direction of war. The scene where the Indian Army lays the Pakistani dead soldiers at rest when their own country refuses to accept the bodies, evokes an intense veneration towards them.

With that said, Shershaah remains Indian in its sensibility and content, through the portrayal of one of the bravest men in India. However, the film does not need to showcase the errors and shortcomings of Pakistan to highlight the strengths of our nation. The portrayal of the Indian Army’s valour through a simple yet effective narrative style is enough to highlight India’s story.

The movie did portray scenes where the soldiers from two armies were involved in throwing vulgarities at each other, but the focus lay on showcasing the ordinariness and simplicity of these men doing their jobs with exemplary courage and determination. 

Representation of soldiers’ life in shershaah movie:

Among everything, the movie in all its honesty and totality portrays a just and true picture of soldiers’ life. Regardless of some of its clichéd dialogues, the movie tethers the audience to the reality of an army man and the hurdles he would have to face in his life. One such honest scene arrives when soldiers surround the body of their colleague who faced an unfortunate demise during the ongoing war. They discuss their fears and anxieties that are inseparable from any war. 

image credit: indianexpress.com

Through this discussion, the movie is trying to showcase that soldiers are humans too. Regardless of how courageous and strong they are shown, they have their fears and shortcomings, which make them afraid of the war. Despite this fear, they march on against the enemy, protecting our nation in any place, time or weather. 

Here’s another important thing that the movie has showcased. Through portraying the burial of Pakistan soldiers and not stepping upon the fallen Pakistani flag, the movie is showcasing the real purpose behind a war. War, in its essentiality, is induced to defend and protect your people and not as a means to destroy others. In all honesty, this message couldn’t have been conveyed better. 

Is Shershaah movie worth it: The ultimatum

Definitely! The movie refutes the ideas followed by conventional patriotic Bollywood films and a part, the current nationalistic strain. By casting the most charming and thoughtful actor, Sidharth Malhotra, the movie has indeed been successful in grasping the attention of the audience and invoking interest in their minds.

In its totality, the movie is an impeccable concoction of communal chasms that were falsely assumed to be non-existent, the unconventional impression of love and marriage, the just and honest representation of an army man and the unbiased portrayal of what goes on near the Indo-Pakistan border.