Shamshera Review: Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani Kapoor & Sanjay Dutt’s film has all the elements of a masala potboiler
Karan Malhotra’s Shamshera also features Saurabh Shukla and Ronit Roy in supporting roles.
Director: Karan Malhotra
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt
Rating: 3 / 5
In terms of content, Bollywood has evolved with time and has experimented with different genres in every decade. However, a few styles often metamorphose in advanced forms, especially with new technology, and the film industry is currently experiencing the same transformation. The 70s and the 80s were popularly dominated with larger-than-life-hero movies, and the trend has come back with better tech support, and is celebrated lately once again. SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Prashanth Neel’s KGF being a testimony to that. Shamshera headlined by Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt falls in the same category.
Many films in the past have been made on the premise of caste discrimination, and Karan Malhotra’s directorial largely revolves around the same subject. Shamshera (played by Ranbir Kapoor) is the leader of his community seeking freedom and respect for his people, who are considered to be from the lower caste. Their Chief takes on dacoity to make his point, but pays a heavy price in return to keep his tribe alive. What follows is a tale of vengeance, for the sake of self-esteem and right to liberty. Yes, it’s not a unique plot, but is presented in a new way, with heavy dialogues, theatrics, and able VFX support.
Shamshera is laden with lines like ‘Aakhir dharm se bada mukhota kya ho sakta hai’, which one would expect from a film like this. But it has its own situational moments of humour too, and a few quirky rhyming lines, which are mouthed by Saurabh Shukla’s character, who is the lead protagonist’s trusted ally in the battle. Large credit for those words should go to dialogue writer Piyush Mishra. The film starts at a great pace, and maintains the stride in the first half, however the narrative takes a dip in the second half impacting the length of the period-drama.
Writers Neelesh Misra and Khila Bisht, and screenplay writers Ekta Pathak Malhotra and Karan Malhotra could have huddled a little more to work on this aspect of Shamshera. However, overall the film manages to keep you hooked. Some of the action scenes choreographed by Franz Spilhaus and Parvez Shaikh stand out, but the ones in the first half could have been imagined more creatively. DOP Anay Goswamy’s wide shots are especially a vision for the sore eyes showcasing the stunning landscape, and the world of Shamshera. Background music by Mithoon helps to elevate the scenes, but the composer’s songs in the film are easily forgettable.
As for the performances, Ranbir Kapoor is effortless as Shamshera and Balli. Despite his co-stars’ strong performances and author backed roles, he manages to hold his ground throughout the film. Vaani Kapoor shines in every scene that she appears in, while Sanjay Dutt aces as antagonist Daroga Shuddh Singh. The dichotomy in his name vis-a-vis his actions is an interesting addition to the character, and so is his sense of humour that adds to the overall theatrics of the role.
His actions often make you wonder if there is more to his power hungry character, and maybe a spin off on Daroga Shuddh Singh in the future would be a good idea to explore that aspect of the part. Other supporting cast including, Saurabh Shukla and Ronit Roy play their parts to the T. However, Ronit’s character could have been experimented with a little more, as it gets completely stagnant after a point in the film.
Overall, Karan Malhotra’s Shamshera starring Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt is in line with the ongoing trend of workable films, and has the right amount of drama, action, romance, humour and all other masala potboiler elements to entertain the audience.