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Hindi Reviews

Sherni(2021) : A rare gem from Hollywood!

Amit Masurkar’s follow up to the riveting Newton, is equal to it in many ways. From the bold but vulnerable protagonist to the constant fear of a shadow enemy, Sherni may remind us of Newton but asks all the right questions just like the latter.

Sherni has all the right ingredients for a compelling watch. It has an evenly paced narrative and brilliantly drawn parallels, while giving subtle yet insightful criticisms to the system and society along with powerful performances from the lead and the supporting cast.

The movie is set in a village near to a forest in Madhya Pradesh, an area severely traumatised by a marauding tigress. Vidya Vincent is a newly appointed forest officer who is striving for balance in this hostile environment of man-wild conflict. She, along with her fellow officers and a group called ‘forest friends’, have to track the tigress and capture it alive while confronting with her superiors, politicians, a private hunter who is appointed by her superiors and some of the hostile inhabitants of the village. It is probably the first film to address the ground realities of forest officers and landscape management issues.

The movie is loosely based on a true incident and though it is the dramatised version of it, the script by Aasta Tiku and the dialogues by Yashaswi Mishra and Masurkar himself are quite intriguing and touchingly written. Following the tigress’s trails deep into the forests led by Vidya is intensely captured often giving the mood of an investigation. Vidya is boldly committed to her duty yet vulnerable to the pressures she gets from all corners, bringing us a humane and grounded lead character. The title ‘Sherni’ usually translates to Lioness, but in some parts of India even Tigress is also called by the same name. The writers draw parallels between the struggles of Vidya and the tigress brilliantly while giving us an affecting film. Vidya is up against her surroundings and men just like the tigress does for her habitat. Apart from the man-wild conflict, the film subtly deals with the gender dynamics as well through what Vidya has to deal with at her male dominated-workplace, family and society alike.

Vidya Balan is in fine form as the brave forest officer Vidya Vincent, a role which has a kind-hearted and vulnerable side as well. She never keeps a foot wrong while expressing a wide variety of emotions; tensions, internal conflicts, elations of Vidya at different junctures of the story is safe in the hands of the actress. I have previously watched Vijay Raaz and Brijendra Kala together in Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo, and the duo delivers superb feats yet again here along with notable performances from others in the cast including Neeraj Kabi and Sharat Saxena.

The movie is evenly paced and the editing by Dipika Karla and DOP by Rakesh Haridas make laudable contributions to this, never allowing the intensity to drop. Visuals are quite marvellous and richly textured with plenty of deep forest visuals, night sequences and long shots. Benedict Taylor and Naren Chandavarkar combine for the score and they get it absolutely perfect in playing to the premises and narrative just like they did in Newton. Songs are arranged by Bandish projekt and Utkarsh Dhotekar. The track “Bandar Baat Ka Khela” plays at a perfect place and the lyrics of two cats fighting for a cake with monkey offering help is hilariously reminiscent of the whole ruckus in the movie.

Kudos to Amit Masurkar for taking us through yet another unexplored geography and premise after Newton and the filmmaker has done it yet again giving another compelling movie which raises its voice in a subtle yet powerful manner. Here’s me eagerly waiting for his next outing!!

By sreenathjvm

I am a healthcare professional. An ardent movie lover. Writing about movies forever has been an obsession.

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