SIDHARTH’S ‘SHERSHAAH’ IS A MIXED-BAG AFFAIR - The Daily Guardian
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SIDHARTH’S ‘SHERSHAAH’ IS A MIXED-BAG AFFAIR

Murtaza Ali Khan

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At the end of Shershaah, the recent biopic on the life of the legendary Kargil War hero Captain Vikram Batra, Vishal Batra, Captain Batra’s twin brother, avers, “When I think of Captain Batra’s life of 25 years, I realize that there is no greater honor than being a soldier. There is no great pride than wearing a soldier’s uniform. And there is no religion greater than one’s country.” Rest assured, the scene will give you goosebumps. I wish I could say the same about the whole film which can best be described as a mixed-bag affair. The film’s biggest problem is the casting of Sidharth Malhotra in a double role as Captain Vikram Batra and Vishal Batra. While Vishal is the narrator of Captain Batra’s story, one never really gets to see the twin brothers together in the film except as young kids early in the film (with Krishnay Tuteja and Kavay Tuteja playing the parts of Captain Batra and Vishal Vatra, respectively). More so, Sidharta Malhotra as an actor has many limitations. He is great if he just has to look cool and suave. But every time a character demands him to step out of his comfort zone he gets totally exposed.

Another major issue with Shershaah is that it wants to obsessively follow Captain Batra all the time like some character driven non-fiction film. As a result it fails to do justice to the other characters as well as the world around Captain Batra. In other words, Sidharth Malthotra is the Rajinikanth of Shershaah’s world. If only he were half as good as Rajinikanth in a quintessential Rajinnikanth film. Now, it’s not that Sidharth doesn’t try. In fact, he gets 100/100 for trying. But in the world of professional acting, trying is just not good enough. You either have it or you don’t. And Sidharth definitely has it in him to impeccably play Sidharth Malhotra every time. Now, anyone who has seen old videos of Captain Batra would agree that he was really one of a kind. And so it is wishful thinking to expect someone like Sidharth Malhotra with limited acting skills to plausibly play a braveheart like Captain Batra. In fact, the director and the casting department have done a great disservice to the iconic stature of Captain Batra by casting Malhotra in the part.

To quote the late American film critic Roger Ebert, as critics, we are looking for “moods, tones, fears, imaginings, whims, speculations, nightmares” in the films that we watch. He adds, “As a general principle, I believe films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions.” Therefore, even when a filmmaker is making a biopic, he/she cannot afford to get too obsessed with facts and figures. Ebert further adds, “My notion is that ‘JFK’ is no more, or less, factual than (Oliver) Stone’s ‘Nixon’ or ‘Gandhi’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Amistad,’ ‘Out of Africa,’ ‘My Dog Skip’ or any other movie based on ‘real life’. All we can reasonably ask is that it be skillfully made and seem to approach some kind of emotional truth”. Ebert’s astute observations perfectly apply to Shershaah. Here is a film about a beloved and revered martyr like Captain Batra and yet one doesn’t really feel the goosebumps for the most part. And therein lies the rub. One wants to clench one’s fists every time Captain Batra goes on a nigh impossible mission. One wants to feel the adrenaline. Every time he finds himself in the tight spot while facing the enemy one wants to pray for his safety. And when he triumphs one wants to make the same battle cry. Alas, such moments are few and far in the film!

Shershaah’s greatest strength is Kamaljeet Negi’s splendid work in the cinematography department. Negi’s camerawork helps bring the Kargil War to life. Also, the film’s editing and sound design are its strong areas. Even as Malhotra struggles throughout the film to get a hold over his challenging character, actors around him succeed in leaving their mark. While Raj Arjun is mesmerizing to watch during his special cameo appearance, Sahil Vaid is solid as ever as Captain Batra’s elder brother. Also, Mir Sarwar looks menacing during his short but powerful portrayal of the head of a Kashmiri militant outfit backed by Pakistan. Shiv Pandit also impresses in the limited screen time that he gets. As for Kiara Advani, she somewhere seems to be playing the extension of her character from Kabir Singh. At this stage in her career she needs to be very careful of getting typecast and so she cannot afford to play the shy, homely girl with little or no agency over and over again. Shershaah isn’t a bad film but it hardly has anything new to offer. For some reason, Indian filmmakers just can’t seem to go beyond the scope of ‘Border’ or ‘Lakshya’. At this rate we might have to wait until the next century for our own ‘Saving Private Ryan’ or ‘The Thin Red Line’ to arrive on the film scene.

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Tom Hanks’ sci-fi movie ‘Finch’ drops first trailer

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WASHINGTON: The first official full trailer of Hollywood star Tom Hanks’ upcoming sci-fi adventure movie ‘Finch’ has recently been dropped by Apple TV+, where it will premiere on November 5.

The movie narrates the story of a lone survivor of a global apocalypse who has embarked on a dangerous journey to find a new home for his unlikely family, a dog and a newly created robot. Hanks has portrayed the titular character, a robotics engineer, who is the only survivor of a solar event. Finch creates the robot named Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones) to take care of his loyal companion, dog Goodyear, when he’s gone.

The almost 3-minute trailer of ‘Finch’ begins with Hanks’ character saying “It all happened so fast. There was a solar flare. Goodbye crops and food, goodbye everything,” as scenes of a deserted, dystopian America pass by. “So I hid, frightened and so alone, and I found you,” he continues, addressing the sweet dog.

After Finch develops the robot Jeff, it learns its purpose (“Robots must protect dog”), the trio then set out west, embarking on a treacherous journey to beat a deadly storm to safety. “If we don’t go before that storm hits, we’ll die. All of us,” Finch says in the trailer.

During the journey, they experience some lighthearted moments on the road, Finch teaching Jeff how to drive, Jeff learning how to “talk dog”, all while the pressures of the post-apocalyptic world seem to be closing in. Along the way, they navigate through extreme weather phenomena, merciless heat, UV radiation, and other unexpected challenges.

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MUMBAI: On the tenth death anniversary of legendary cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, his daughter Soha Ali Khan held a prayer in the former’s memory.

Taking to Instagram, Soha, who is currently spending time at her grand ancestral property Pataudi Palace, posted a picture of her and her little daughter Inaaya lovingly looking at the photo frames of late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi kept on a table. The prayer set-up was decorated with lit candles and a cricket bat.

“Abba . 05.01.1941 – 22.09.2011,” Soha captioned the heartwarming post. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and veteran actor Sharmila Tagore’s elder daughter Saba Pataudi also penned an emotional note on social media. “Abba…..I miss you every day and know you watch over me. It doesn’t feel like a decade since you left us… only just yesterday. You’ll stay in our hearts forever. Love you always,” she wrote on Instagram.

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WASHINGTON: Documentary on singer Britney Spears will explore her highly-publicised conservatorship.

On Wednesday, Netflix unveiled the project’s official teaser, wherein Britney is heard leaving a message for an attorney in 2009. For the unversed, Britney’s conservatorship began in 2008 after the singer had several mental breakdowns publicly. Her father Jamie Spears served as both a conservator of her estate and person for more than a decade, but, in 2019, he temporarily stepped down as manager of her person due to his own health issues. Jodi Montgomery temporarily took his place for the past two years. And earlier this year, Britney and her lawyer filed the official court petition to request the removal of Jamie as conservator of the songstress’ estate.

Titled ‘Britney vs Spears’, the clip features a voicemail left by Britney to her lawyer at 12:29 a.m. on January 21, 2009, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

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He also thanked his fans and supporters and said he is very excited as they already started working on its sequel.

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Taking to the Instagram Story, Sara posted a picture of herself standing next to the soldiers with the tricolour flying high in the backdrop. She also thanked them for keeping everyone protected. “So thrilled to meet the heroes that make us feel safe, secure and protected. Thank you for all that you do for us. Jai Hind,” Sara captioned the post.

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