It was quite by accident that I stumbled upon the recently released DVDof the movie Shaurya and it will not be a misnomer to say that I stumbled upon a wonderful montage of excellent acting, dialogue and script. Directed by Samar Khan, the movie largely rests on the shoulders of Rahul Bose, Javed Jaffery, Minisha Lamba, Kay Kay Menon and Deepak Dobriyal.
At the onset I expected another war film which has the men in the nation’s colors fighting for the country’s honor, but I was surprised to see a new cinematic definition of the Indian Army. Refreshingly the movie is an introspection of the officers in the army – their real valor versus their questionable feelings of prejudice and bias. For once we have a movie which deals with a sensitive issue, separating of Islam from Terrorism.
When I first heard about Shaurya I learnt it was ‘inspired’ from the Academy Award nominated – A Few Good Men (starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson in lead roles) which made me think that it was another of those movies’ which are a copy of another Hollywood flick. Both the movies are set against the backdrop of a court martial trial and the protagonists are defence lawyers. Being highly moved by A Few Good Men, I think no remake of this movie can beat the original. But then, even though I am a critic of Hollywood inspired movies, it is rather unfair to compare the two as the latter one deals with a topic close to an Indian’s heart. It is the redefining of courage for an Army officer.
The movie is largely set on the self discovery of Rahul Bose’s true definition of valor i.e. The Shaurya; who is an army lawyer and is pitted against his best friend Akash (portrayed by Javed Jaffery) to defend Captain Javed Khan (enacted by Deepak Dobriyal) who is accused of mutiny, treason and killing a fellow officer. However, the accused chooses to keep quiet in the court to prevent the bitter truth of religious bias in the army.
The movie scores with the excellent performances of all the actors. Although Rahul Bose is the protagonist, I feel the real protagonist in the movie is Shaurya itself. The movie leaves the viewer with a question as to what exactly is valor? We see various forms of this Valor in the movie – Valor of an army lawyer to fight for justice risking his reputation; Valor of Javed Khan in killing his superior to save the life of the innocents he was mercilessly killing thinking they were terrorists; Valor of a journalist (Minisha Lamba) to uncover the true story; Valor of a Brigadier (Kay Kay Menon) who has lost his family yet fought wars to preserve the honor of the country; and the Valor of a widow (Amrita Rao) of an army officer who understands the true definition of Shaurya .
Unfortunately, I cannot give a perfect ten to the movie as it has certain loose ends. For instance, an item song at the beginning is absolutely unessential. And the movie could have easily been fifteen minutes shorter if the script was edited well. Yet it deserves a nine because of its theme and performance. Shahrukh Khan’s definition of Shaurya at the end is moving. But with all its flaws (seems a harsh word though) the movie keeps the viewers glued to it with an anticipation of what will happen next.
My favorite scenes from the movie are – the interaction between Bose and Kay Kay before the climax and the climax itself. I particularly liked the symbolism of the purity of spirit compared with the purity of valor. The play of words is an ingenious product of the dialogue writer’s mind. The climax is nerve cracking. But yes, it borrows the famous line from its inspirational counterpart – “You can’t handle the truth!” Of course here it is translated in Hindi.
In the end, all I can say is that Shaurya is definitely a must-see for someone who likes to watch a thought provocative movie now and then. The good thing being that it is not a movie just for the defence personnel’s but the common man as well.