Shershaah review – Sidharth Malhotra stars in nuance-free military biopic

Shershaah review – Sidharth Malhotra stars in nuance-free military biopic
Karan Johar-produced film about Vikram Batra, who died in the 1999 India-Pakistan conflict, promotes him as a model citizen – with model looks to boot

Hot on the heels of Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, last year’s biopic of one of the hardier combatants in the India-Pakistan conflict of 1999, mega-producer Karan Johar offers a disappointingly generic tribute to Vikram Batra, killed in the same conflict aged just 24. Batra’s death was previously noted in 2003’s all-star Loc: Kargil, where he was played by Abhishek Bachchan, and he has clearly lodged in the Indian collective memory as a model citizen; a straight arrow willing to sacrifice all for the motherland. Yet that very straightness proves an issue in a two-hour battle charge of a film that shuttles its practically perfect protagonist from playground fisticuffs to fateful last stand, while its idea of conflict never develops beyond the childishly superficial.

For starters,
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