Shamshera is actually not that bad

Published on Aug 24, 2022 06:38 AM IST

Shamshera is nowhere as bad as Thugs of Hindostan, it's far better and fun to watch. As Sanjay Dutt said, the film will find its tribe one day, it already appears to have.

Ranbir Kapoor in a still from Shamshera song Ji Huzoor. 
Ranbir Kapoor in a still from Shamshera song Ji Huzoor. 
ByRuchi Kaushal

I am a Ranbir Kapoor fan, but not a diehard one who would have chosen to consensually watch Roy to the end. However, that wasn’t the case with Shamshera. The film is clearly not boring or perplexing like Roy. In fact, it much falls in the category of Jagga Jasoos, which I had loved, despite struggling to survive through its long runtime. Shamshera, which has been gaining more viewers po is neither that long nor it has a story that’s too complex to decipher. Imagine Ranbir chasing a train in the desert, beating up handful of armed security guards and running away on his horse with the queen’s crown, aka Hrithik Roshan style in Dhoom 2. The Karan Malhotra film is fun to watch and has a decent story with a clear character arc for Ranbir Kapoor. Also read: Sanjay Dutt writes long note on Ranbir Kapoor getting 'hate' for Shamshera

Presented as a period drama, Shamshera stands far from the Sanjay Leela Bhansali epics we are used to and has a screenplay closer to what we saw in Thugs of Hindostan. Fortunately, it is lot better than Thugs of Hindostan which still collected 150 crore in India. Shamshera by that standard, was worth more than just one third of what the Aamir Khan film had claimed at the ticket windows. Like Thugs of Hindostan, Shamshera too has a periodic setting in the pre-Independence era, interesting action sequences and Vaani Kapoor’s dance numbers reminding one of Katrina Kaif’s. But unlike Thugs, Shamshera’s story has a clear beginning and an end and never leaves the viewers in confusion.

Ranbir also brings his own charm to the story. His fun dance song Ji Huzoor reminds us of Jagga Jasoos’ Galti Se Mistake, thanks to the funny and creative choreography. Mostly set in the muddy fictional city of Kaza, Shamshera doesn’t get too real or serious like Abhishek Choubey’s underrated movie Sonchiriya, which was set up in the muddy ravines of Chambal and had nailed the accuracy of dialects and language of the area to perfection. Even when Ranbir’s Bali deals with oppression and torture in the fortress or plunders the city with his gang, preference has been given to creative liberty with fictional picturisation and stunning cinematography over factual accuracy, which critics may mind but the public doesn’t. Complain about being too fictional, but it has all that will make you delay the loo break else you miss catching up with the story.

Yes, the romantic song Fitoor featuring Vaani and Ranbir was too unrealistic and out of place but the underwater scenes again make you ignore the logic and enjoy the visuals. The title score Shamshera is what holds the movie and the viewers together. The crows join too as the title song plays at crucial points and has a powerful impact on the overall mood of the film.

As a viewer, after hearing a lot of negative views about the film, I feared the movie will eventually end up a mess in next few minutes but it never actually happened. It’s pretty clear the hard work that has been put in to make the film and justifies why Sanjay Dutt had to pen a letter after the film’s box office failure to stress on why it doesn’t deserve the hate it received. Sanjay indeed shot for the film while struggling with cancer, and the way he has portrayed the role of Shudh Singh, it’s nothing like Agneepath’s Kancha Cheena but more fun and interesting. One thing I also liked about Shamshera was how a film for the first time showed a corrupt Indian like Shudh Singh, ditching not just his countrymen but also the British officers for his own gain. Apart from the unexpected climax scene which proves this point, there are scenes where a British officer asks Shudh Singh to not kill people mindlessly and be less brutal.

Shamshera is all a Ranbir fan would love to watch after having missed him on screen for four years and I vouch for the fact that he doesn’t disappoint at all. As Sanjay said, “Shamshera” will find its tribe one day,” I can assure him I am part of that tribe and there are more like me.

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