Sherni Review: Sombre cinema, fine film making and a very relevant message!

Sherni

A slow burn drama that revolves around a tigress being chased and  aims to say much more.

Director – Amit Masurkar

Writers – Aastha Tiku, Amit Masurkar, Yashasvi Mishra

Cast – Vidya Balan, Brijendra Kala, Vijay Raaz, Sharat Saxena, Neeraj Kabi

Plot

Vidya Vincent (Vidya), a DFO, has what can be called a tough posting. The area under her is rife with problems. 

Humans have encroached into the wild life area and now pushed, the wildlife is encroaching into the lives of human. 

This man animal conflict has been worsened by dirty politics, corruption, red tapeism and apathy.

Is there a hope at the end of this tunnel ?

Analysis

In the marvellously made Newton, Amit Masurkar gave us an insightful view of our electoral process and a hard hitting view of the politics, corruption and greed in that virtual circus.

This time, he brings the focus to the conflict between human and wildlife that has been worsened by ill planned development, apathetic human approach and corruption. and manipulative politicians.

The first half has almost a documentary like quality and feel. With a languid pace and lingering camera some parts almost felt like Nat Geo episode. Whether that’s a compliment or otherwise would depend upon the kind of audience you are. They give us a discerning view of the wilderness, wildlife, local people, their life and livelihood, the problems faced and the functioning of the forest departments. 

What added to this effect was the fact that a lot of actors in minor roles looked extremely realistic and it seems the makers used a lot of local talent as they had done in Newton also. 

We also get a concise but insightful peep into Vidya’s life, her aspirations, dilemma and frustrations. 

But the extremely slow paced first half might be a problem for some and it made the  overall duration of 2 hr 10 min seem on the higher side. There were parts that could have been done away with, without effecting the story much.

There is mild humour but it is sparse and I will confess that I did miss Newton’s lighter tone and the humour brought in by the cast and the writing.

Having said that, like a good slow burn, the second half picks up and gives us a thriller like edginess with  emotional tug and moments that had our heart beats racing. At times it reminded me of JalliKattu. The only difference is that in this film we thankfully had a bunch of good humans too, that gave us hope.

The smoothness with which the film attacks so many issues (the oxymoron is well intended) like apathetic bureaucracy, politics, patriarchy and corruption is impactful .The way it has been able to evoke empathy and awareness about the issue of conservation is appreciable.

To see samaritans and warriors working relentlessly for the cause was heart warming. 

The film shows grim realities, doesn’t placate you with its climax and instead leaves you unsettled and pondering if there’s any hope round the corner. Though I do wish the climax was a little brighter, it seems the makers were in no mood to mollycoddle our sensibilities. The intention was perhaps to awaken us and pay ode to the warriors. 

Performances 

The Real Vidya’s quiet and intense performance brings alive the reel Vidya. You would be able to feel her fustration, pain, disenchantment and her grit.

Vijay Raaz, Sharat Saxena, Brijendra Kala and Neeraj Kabi lend good support.

The film is another gem with its heart in the right place. While its tonality and pace might not cater to mass entertainment, it is a film that needs to be seen. 

5 thoughts on “Sherni Review: Sombre cinema, fine film making and a very relevant message!

  1. Absolutely agree verbatim with the review. This movie should benefit from the lockdown. Staying at home, people will see it, they would not have flocked to the cinema theatres for same. The movie got a 3.5/5.0 rating which is rather fair. There is no catering at all to the audience. No cinematic liberties. The script is awesome, but too too subtle like when the forest incharge hides in the record room, its for the audience to understand in a fleeting second the situation ,seeing the cobwebs & rotten files. So many such instances and visuals. its a delight for the nuanced cinema goer. The suspense is palpable,as if the movie is through the eyes of the Sherni watching us.
    Just a little more fearfulness, some more incidents( involving Vidya) & a taughter ending (just like u mentioned) would have catapulted to a 5/5 rating.
    Its a brilliant effort albeit a tad slow.

    Like

    1. Glad you liked the film and appreciated it.
      You are right , there are many metaphoric instances. The most hard hitting was the climax. The stuffed up animals as exhibits beacuse the man is eating into their natural habitats.If they managed to revv up such emotions by the end of the movie, I think I would call that purpose achieved.
      There’s a section of audience quite critical of its documentary like format and a flat tone.
      What people need to see is that the film maker probably intended to make it like that. Sometimes one has to appreciate the film maker’s vision and their passion to go ahead with it , even at the risk of not earning mass adulation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The section of audience critical of its documentary like format is indeed quite large. The good thing is that if more such cinema is made & is financially viable it’ll really uplift bollywood. Like when Hritik’s movie Kites failed, he commented that changing tastes from Chole Bhature to Pasta takes time. This movie is like a fine wine, where the aftertaste is as good if not better than the drink.

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      2. Ha ha ha interesting comment by Hritik.
        Yeah ,the perecentage of audience with a palate for such artful cinema is less but its heartening the way they have loved and supported the movie. Thats another aspect whether all of them woud have taken the efforts to go to theatre to watch the film.

        Liked by 1 person

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