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Let's clear a misconception before we get down to reviewing Shaurya. It's not a war film. It's not jingoistic. It doesn't spew venom on the neighboring country. It doesn't show mutilated bodies or blood-soaked faces and limbs.
Sure, Shaurya has the backdrop of the armed forces. But it's about a court martial. It's about two friends, who're pitched against each other in a courtroom. The 'culprit', in turn, doesn't want to defend himself and remains a mute spectator for reasons best known to him.
Shaurya is a serious film and raises a serious issue in the penultimate 20 minutes. And that's where it scores. Director Samar Khan gradually builds up the tension and when it explodes in the finale, it leaves you stunned and speechless. Most importantly, it makes you uncomfortable… perhaps, that's one of the reasons why it succeeds.
Shaurya is about the common man, but as a cinematic experience, it's more for the discerning viewer looking for a hatke theme, thirsting for a story in those 2 hours. Most importantly, it does justice to the tagline - 'It takes courage to make right... right'.
Captain Javed Khan [Deepak Dobriyal] is charged with mutiny, treason and killing a fellow officer. Even when he is held for court martial, he refuses to speak in his defense as the secret he holds is too powerful for the establishment to handle. Assigned for this task are Sid [Rahul Bose] and Akash [Jaaved Jaaferi], two best friends, lawyers and very ambitious individuals who have contrasting views on life.
Nevertheless, this one case changes their lives forever. The case takes them to Srinagar. While Akash, for whom winning the case matters the most, follows the blueprint, Sid discovers a new meaning in life, Kavya, Javed and of course, the man in question, Brigadier Pratap [Kay Kay Menon].
Why is Javed silent? What is the truth of that night? Why is Brigadier Pratap hell-bent on getting Javed convicted? Will Sid have the courage to save Javed's life?
Shaurya isn't a flawless script. But it has been treated with utmost realism and sensitivity by Samar Khan. Talking of the narrative, the film could've done without the item song at the very start [and what was Pawan Malhotra doing in this song?]. Besides, one fails to understand why Deepak Dobriyal doesn't confide to his mother, since the family has always taken pride in the fact that they've adhered to principles all their lives. Besides, the film could've been shorter by at least 15/20 minutes. The second hour drags at places!
Despite the hiccups, Shaurya delivers what it promises. At the end of the screening, you actually pinch yourself. Did the same guy who helmed this riveting fare called Shaurya, direct Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye, a bitter cinematic experience? The execution of Shaurya is impressive and Samar also succeeds in extracting stellar performances from the ensemble cast.
Despite the shortcomings, the screenplay is tight, not deviating from the core issue. The reason that compels Deepak Dobriyal to shoot a fellow officer and also the powerful climax prove that the writers [Jaydeep Sarkar, Aparnaa Malhotra and Samar Khan] know their job well. There's not much scope for music in a film like this, therefore the two songs don't make much of an impression. However, in terms of melody [Adnan Sami], 'Dheere Dheere' has a soothing effect on the listener. Carlos Catalan's cinematography is topnotch.
The story rests on five actors - Rahul Bose, Kay Kay Menon, Jaaved Jafferi, Deepak Dobriyal and Minissha Lamba. Rahul excels in a role that fits him like a glove. In fact, this performance easily ranks as one of his finest works. Kay Kay is dynamic. Watch him explode in the climax and you realize the potential this actor possesses.
Jaaved does a decent job. However, his character is relegated to the backseat after a point. Deepak conveys a lot even when silent - that's the sign of a fine actor. Minissha is effective. Besides, she looks the character. Amrita Rao handles her part with maturity. She's first-rate. Seema Biswas, as always, is a complete natural.
On the whole, Shaurya is a well-made film that will have to rely on a strong word of mouth to sustain in the coming days. However, the film deserves to be tax-exempted since it's a genuinely deserving case.