Shaurya – Movie Review
I went to see Shaurya despite its not so good reviews as it was about an army court-martial. I am sucker for army movies. And I had read some good things about the movie – excellent performances by Rahul Bose (plays army lawyer Siddhant) Kay Kay Menon (plays Brig. Pratap) and Deepak Dobriyal (plays Captain Javed Khan).
Well, I liked the movie and didn’t like it. What I liked was the treatment. It was simple and clean, with no frills and no fuss. The scenes were natural and realistic, and so was the acting. The movie was set in the countryside, a nice change from the city-centred movies that we usually see. No glamour, no disco lights and no cabarets.
The editing, though not always tight, was very clever…at times the very length of the scene made an impact. Very well done I thought, the overall treatment by director Samar Khan. As I have not seen A Few Good Men, from which this movie has been lifted, it is difficult to say how much of the treatment and how many of the scenes were copied.
Rahul Bose as Siddhant was superb though.
The story has been given an Indian twist. It’s been turned into a Hindu Muslim issue. Well, if it was credible it would have been a different matter. But it isn’t.
The movie opens with Captain Javed Khan (Deepak Dobriyal) shooting a senior officer at point blank range and his subsequent incineration. In the scenes that follow we are given to understand that Javed shoots Major Rathod during a search operation in a Kashmir village because of his (Javed’s) ‘sympathy’ for the villagers due to them being of the same religion as him. Thus Javed Khan is suspected of being a traitor and shielding terrorists. As Javed refuses to speak in his own defence it adds to the suspense. We wonder: what really happened? Deepak Dobriyal as Javed Khan does an excellent job. His stony expression and expressive eyes say it all.
Two best friends (both Majors) are on his case. One is Siddhant (Sid), the defense lawyer, and his best friend Akash (played by Javed Jaffery) is the prosecution. Siddhant is told that it is an open and shut case. This in addition to the fact that Siddhant is fun-loving and has a casual attitude towards the case makes us feel that Capt Javed Khan is indeed doomed. Until journalist Kaavya (played by Minissha Lamba) appears on the scene, taunting Siddhant for his incompetence. This does seem to wake him up. That he’s taken a shine to her helps.
Well, I won’t tell you the rest of the story, but if you have seen A Few Good Men you can guess the general direction in which it goes. Shaurya’s story though basically revolves around the Hindu Muslim issue.
I felt that the basic tenet of the movie is weak. Capt. Javed Khan being a Muslim feels a strong sympathy for the villagers who are also Muslims. What is the director trying to say? That only Muslims feel sympathy for Muslims?? It does seem like that because the other (Hindu) officers who are around do not feel strong enough sympathy for the villagers who are being treated roughly. Only Javed does. Well, at least if the director had admitted that this is what the message of the movie is (feeling sympathy for those like oneself or of the same religion), it would have been fine. Every director/storyteller has his own vision and he tries to tell it through the story/movie. But at the end of this movie, we are told that Captain Javed Khan does not feel sympathy for the villagers because they share the same religion as him…that he feels sympathy only because they are fellow human beings and that is why the label Shaurya (Bravery) fits him. But nothing in the movie proves this. In fact everything in the movie proves the opposite.
Kay Kay Menon is the villain of the piece. It is a treat to watch him act. Perfect as an autocratic but mentally unbalanced Brigadier!
What is ridiculous is that the journalist Kaavya has free run of an army base in a high security zone, free access to the defence lawyer in the case and free access to files and is even present in the courtroom where the trial is taking place! Incredible.
Well, is Shaurya worth a watch? If you can stomach the fact that the movie is a copy of A Few Good Men and that many of the dialogues are “verbatim translations,” then go see it. It’s a bit slow and a rather long, but it is a very unusual Hindi film. It is unusual because of the backdrop and the subdued and realistic treatment. If one can just forget that it’s copied, one can enjoy the film.
It’s a pity that Bollywood continue to steal stories from Hollywood. They do it shamelessly because nothing happens to them. They change the story just enough so that it is difficult to prove plagiarism. And talented actors have no qualms in working in such films! It is only when the true artists of the Indian film industry boycott the directors, producers and music directors who plagiarize that the cheating will stop. Artistes should realize that a bit of the mud sticks to them too.
The music in this film is original. You can read the music review here.