Ranbir Kapoor’s Period Film Is Thugs Of Hindostan-Level Bad 1 Star

A still of Shamshera trailer. (courtesy: FRJ)

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt

Director: Karan Malhotra

Evaluation: 1 star (out of 5)

Another shot in the dark of film school “having a camera that will roll”, Shamshera is a horrible period film. Period. When a movie doesn’t work, critics often write it off as having “lost the plot.” In this case, even this euphemism is out of the question. Shamshera, all action and no attention to detail, has no plot.

Produced by Yash Raj Films, Shamshera is an excruciatingly bad action movie that inflicts more torture on audiences than the film’s sadistic villain does on the people he enslaves and brutalizes. It’s a stun gun from a movie that just knocks out a cold.

After dragging the audience through two hours of utter rubbish, he throws an insane climactic scrimmage his way. We leave the theater completely dazed – and clueless about what we just saw unfold on screen.

The script, written by the film’s director Karan Malhotra in collaboration with Ekta Pathak Malhotra, gives the impression of a haphazardly knitted patchwork quilt – colorful, overworked, garish and arrogant. Yes, to put it another way, Shamsherawhich takes place in the second half of the 19th century, a time when the heroine is allowed to be draped in fabrics of the new millennium, throws a bundle of things into a cauldron that turns everything to ashes and dust.

In the first minutes of the 158-minute film, in which a voice-over sets the “historical” context of what awaits us, curiosity is a little piqued because it is obvious that the protagonist will, for a change, be a man who belongs at the lowest level of the caste hierarchy and, therefore, who suffers discrimination. More importantly, he is not one to take matters into his own hands and is determined to bring his tribe out of darkness.

But as the story (whatever it is) progresses, the film’s anti-caste stance evaporates and the battle royale boils down to a feud between two men – an executioner and a seeker of revenge. If cale had a title, it would be Shamshera. Yes, Shamshera is on the level of Hindustan thugs, its period details being on par with Mohenjodaro.

If there’s anything Shamshera proves, it’s this: Bollywood, even if represented by its numero uno production banner – should either avoid the story altogether or devise a statutory “F” classification to denote falsification when dealing with issues he does not understand.

Lead actor Ranbir Kapoor – in his first big screen appearance since Sanju in 2018 – has to endure this turgid mess twice, playing the eponymous character and his son, two engaged men, a quarter of a century apart, in a battle for freedom for their tribe of oppressed warriors tricked into subservience by an evil servant of the British Raj.

The main antagonist is tried out by Sanjay Dutt. It does a wild variation on Agneepath’s Kancha Cheena and KGF’s Adheera and dissolves into a crude caricature that carries no threat. Due to such a confusing storyline, the veteran actor, who is increasingly being branded as an over-the-top villain, is unable to decide whether he wants to be a goofy, laugh-or-treat villain. right. He falls between two stools.

Shamshera presents the false story in such a brutal way that you half expect a treacherous Mughal general or a cruel British officer to come out of the woodwork and get embarrassed to set the stage for the hypermasculine hero to display his prowess.

The Mughals are indeed mentioned, but thankfully only in passing – they are blamed for the displacement of the fictional Khameran tribe from Rajputana – and a British colonel (played by Scottish actor Craig McGinlay) arrives late in the film and swears instill fear of the queen in the hearts of renegades. It turns out that the Hindi-speaking white colonel is a lot less mean than the Hindustani mean.

In this landscape totally dominated by men, only two women have a little to do. Iravati Harshe is cast as Shamshera’s wife and Vaani Kapoor plays a dancer who helps Shamshera’s son, Lalli, further his father’s legacy. But the duo are ousted from the film, as is Ronit Bose Roy, who plays Lalli’s mentor role as the young man who grew up in captivity in a fort learns the ropes before venturing out into the world to settle. accounts. .

For a movie that would have cost Rs 150 crore, the visual effects are abysmal. The fort (one of the film’s main locations) looks every inch like the cardboard structure it probably is and a train sequence deep in the second half is so tacky it derails before it can even begin . Lots of money out the window.

Far worse than the movie looks is what it feels like – an all-out assault on the senses. On the VFX, it would be hard to tell if the birds in the film are a pot of hawks or a murder of crows. It really doesn’t matter because they don’t actually come out in a bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping film with its details of major period props and components.

In a remote part of the country in the 19th century, there is a printing press that produces a Hindi daily newspaper called Dainik Darpan (Daily Mirror) which keeps the villain up to date with what is going on around him. Plus, the hero – remember he never got out of prison until he was a grown boy – knows enough to write neat notes in Devanagari for anyone who cares to read.

Moral of the story for Ranbir Kapoor: the actor should now read his scripts with a more critical eye before committing to them. He owes it to his talent.

Bollywood, in the midst of a long period of leanness, desperately needs a turnaround. Will be Shamshera bring crowds back to theaters? NOPE. It’s a dud on an epic scale.

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