I have watched many war films and most of them revolve around the gory and bleak aftermath of warfare depicting soldiers as automatons devoid of emotions. However, Shershaah will be forever embedded in my heart for the way it made me feel. You didn’t narrate the story of a soldier who sacrificed his life in order to confer glory upon himself and his country, you depicted him as a human being, a benevolent heart full of love and care for the people whom he valued in his life.
As we traversed with you through different phases of the protagonist’s life the phase which we adored the most is Vikram and Dimple’s love story. The young Vikram and his Sardarni really gave us a couple of goals. All the songs from Raataan Lambiya to Ranjhaa portraying the intensity of their love story will etch this saga of true love in our hearts for eternity.
Soldiers in the war films are generally staunch and stern but Vikram wasn’t a stereotypical soldier which was reflected in many instances such as his befriending of his teammates with his jovial nature when he was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the 13 JAK RIF in Jammu and Kashmir and his compassionate behavior towards the Kashmir localities really portrayed Vikram as a living soul who was filmy, an ardent lover and a caring friend, within whom we found the reflection of a common man.
Vikram as “Shershaah”(also his code name for the mission to recapture pt 5140) in Shershaah alludes to the Afghan ruler Shershaah through the exhibition of his dauntless bravery while crushing down the enemies on the battlefield. The way Vikram is captured in the film maintaining a fine balance between two lives one as a soldier and other as a friend and lover is what makes us and admire and adorn him.
Patriotic fervor is an intrinsic part of war films but in most films, it takes the shape of jingoism however in Shershaah along with the unwavering allegiance of Batra for his country the horror of the war is also exposed through certain dialogues in instances such as when Vikram’s compatriots grieve over the death of their senior officer Major Ajay Singh Jasrotia and he says, “War’s a bitch man, Doesn’t even let you say goodbye to your loved ones properly” it clearly depicts the inhumanity of war which cost the lives of millions of soldiers who had to die without getting a chance to bid a final goodbye to their near and dear ones.
Dialogues often bewitch us fuelling the emotions embedded in a film and Vikram’s monologues be it “If you are a fauji you live by chance, love by choice and kill by profession” to “jiske andaar se marne ka darr nikal gaya use koi nahi hara sakta” and “Tiranga hum hi leherayengey” describing his philosophies of war acts as souvenirs through which he will be forever immortal in our hearts and soul.
We weren’t acquainted with the story of real-life Captain Vikram Batra in so many details until we saw Shershaah. In the 135 minutes of the film, I could feel an entire range of emotions and felt proud to share the same country with such a hero who is and will be cherished for centuries for his doughty spirit.
None of us other than his teammates were there with Vikram when he succumbed to his injuries endured as the casualties of war but both for us and his twin brother Vishal Batra as he said, his last remembrance of his brother will be the depiction of the reel life Vikram Batra uttering, “Durgey mata ki Jaai” in his last breath when he saw the flag of his country fluttering ultimately satiating his quest to end the Kargil War.
Shershaah, some films leave us speechless because at times words aren’t enough to express to what we feel. You unfolded the story of a brave soldier who couldn’t unite with his beloved, (the person with whom he weaved dreams to spend the rest of his life for the next 40 years) and it undoubtedly left a void in our hearts to witness this unfulfilled love story. However, it is this void that will forever engrave this film in our hearts. Shershaah is not just the story of a soldier’s heroism but it is a love story between two soldiers- one who fought for his country and the other who fought with her feelings to let go of her lover to serve his nation despite knowing he might not come back.
“Yeh Dil Maange More” to witness the reunion of the hero (Vikram) and the unsung heroine (Dimple) in a parallel universe.
~someone in whose heart the essence of this film will linger forever ~
Authors Corner- Srilekha Mitra Writes at The Indian Web Series
Expressing unexpressed emotions through words.
If overthinking is an art then I am its greatest artist.
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