Watch It For The Performances
By MovieTalkies.com, 04 April 2008
Yes, the film is heavily inspired by both Courage Under Fire and A Few Good Men; but then many of our highly rated Hindi films have been 'inspired' from foreign films and hence it is unfair to put Shaurya down because of its source of inspiration. Shaurya is one of those films which has a strong screenplay (Jaydeep Sarkar, Aparna Malhotra and Samar Khan) and great dialogues (Aparna Sen), but seems to falter at places in the execution. Where some scenes could have been extremely powerful and gripping (Kay Kay's intro while playing golf and his scene with Rahul Bose over coffee), they end up being just about ok. However the film does succeed in bringing to the foray certain issues which plague our military and it does make you think about the depth of discrimination and politics that our armed forces face. Yet you feel slightly disappointed because in spite of having, a novel subject, strong screenplay, crisp dialogues and great performances, Samar Khan falls short of creating a spellbinding cinematic experience.
Siddhanth (Rahul Bose) is a carefree, bungee jumping military lawyer who has never entered the courtroom and feels files 'don't suit his image'. His best friend Akash (Javed Jaffrey) is also a military lawyer, but one who plays by the rules and is ambitious to make a name for himself in the military. Akash is handed a case to prosecute an army officer, Captain Javed Khan (Deepak Dobriyal) who shot his senior officer at point blank range. The case involves Akash being posted in Kashmir, and as Siddhanth doesn't want to be left behind, Akash pulls a few strings to get him to be the defence lawyer, since the case is an open and shut one wherein all Sid will have to do is plead guilty for his client, and for Akash, it is a case that can capitulate his career – a win-win situation for both. Things take a turn when feisty journalist Kavya Shastri (Minissha Lamba) enters the scene and halls up Siddhanth for “faffing” through the case and being a shame to his profession for not even knowing the basics of his case. This leads to Sid digging a bit deeper and realizing that this case is not what it seems, as the dead officer was the blue-eyed boy of Brigadier Pratap (Kay Kay Menon) and there is a lot which has been covered up, a lot which has been ignored.
No doubts that Samar Khan has shown a vast improvement from his first film. However, at times it looks like he is merely executing the screenplay, rather than getting into creating a cinematic experience through directorial tools. Full marks to Aparna Malhotra for her dialogues and also to new costume designer Pooja Chhabria ,for creating a look for leading lady Minissha Lamba which is very different from what we have witnessed her in before. A talent to watch out for. Technically the film falls short with weak cinematography and an almost non-existent background score. A strong background would have enhanced the drama within the film, but sadly the film seems to drag, not because the edit is not crisp, but because there is too much silence and hence a lack of build up to the dramatic dialogues.
Kay Kay Menon in a small role is absolutely brilliant. His body language, demeanour, expressions and of course delivery of some of the best lines, is absolutely brilliant. He overshadows Rahul Bose, the main protagonist of the film in almost each of their confrontation scenes. Rahul is good, but somehow one feels that we see too much Rahul Bose in his role rather than Siddhanth, and he doesn't really add anything new to his performance. It is only because of this that you find his performance average, even though there are no other inherent flaws and leading you to wonder whether he was the right choice for this role. Javed Jaffrey seems wasted and slightly miscast. Minissha Lamba is the breath of fresh air in the film both in terms of her character and performance. One only wishes she didn't disappear from the second half so abruptly and also we would have loved to see her released from prison in the end of the film. Watch out for her scene with Rahul Bose in the coffee shop. Amrita Rao is perfect in her small cameo as is Seema Biswas.
Overall the film is definitely worth a once watch, and you will walk out of the cinema hall feeling content that the film was thought provoking and enjoyable, and yet feel slightly disappointed because it could have been brilliant.