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SHERNI (Prime) - A fine satire, even if not any powerful film about an issue, presented with a misleading title. (Movie Notes by Bobby Sing)

18 Jun, 2021 | Movie Reviews / 2021 Releases

In 2005 Karan Johar productions released a film titled KAAL that also created a suspense around a man-eating tiger in a jungle, along with mentioning the important ‘Save Tiger’ mission. The film kept revolving around the tiger with only one sequence showing the real ones, later moving into an entirely different arena ruining the expectations. That actually remained the reason for the film being a non-performer at the box office.
SHERNI strongly reminded me of KAAL in terms of the promises made and the deliverance. So to begin with, if you are expecting a powerful tale of man-animal clashes and the hunt with a few well-shot actions sequences focusing on the tiger, then the film isn’t that and serves exactly how KAAL did more than 15 years back. With a misleading title SHERNI, used in the literal sense; it in reality is a well-intentioned satire sharply commenting upon the red-tape system and its bureaucracy.
Hence, what you expect from the film will be playing a major role in its actual impact, which wasn’t an overwhelming one for me to be honest. The film that presented itself to be an explosive drama in terms of content and action didn’t turn out to be the same, serving a lot less than the promises made.
Even in the form of a satire SHERNI remains just a good film, smartly saying the things, remaining on the surface, without pushing the envelope with any powerful sequences. Written (dialogues) and directed by Amit Masurkar, I frankly found it to be made on the exact format of his NEWTON with the same kind of presentation, progression and ending on a similar note with the officer bowing down to the system. The difference only being the backdrop and the social message with everything else remaining the same. To be specific, if NEWTON had a new officer coming to the remote area for conducting an election meeting the local people, in SHERNI we have a new lady officer coming to the forest region taking the command, interacting with the local people, politicians and hunters. 
Having said that, SHERNI still manages to score a little above NEWTON because of its more intense performances led by Vidya Balan, relatable real-life characters and most importantly the dialogues - that thankfully convey a lot which the film desperately keeps trying to, in its more than two hours of lengthy duration.
For instance, I would like to give some brownie points for this one line alone that courageously says it all without any hiding or fear. And it says,
“Agar VIKAAS ke saath jao, to PARYAVARAN ko bachaa nahin saktey. Aur agar PARYAVARAN ko bachaane jao to VIKAS bechaara udhaas ho jaata hai”
Ironically the officer saying the above meaningful line in the film, chooses to be on the side of VIKAAS sacrificing PARYAVARAN in the end.
Summing up, SHERNI is all what you expect it to be. As a satire it’s not explosive yet a fine appreciable film, with worth praising performances and some thoughtful writing. But if you are looking for anything else in terms of action and the man-animal clashes, then it might be an underwhelming experience as it was for me.
Anyway, would like to end with an opinion about the difference in watching a new film on the OTT platform without paying any extra money (included in the subscription) and watching it in the theater buying a 200+ rupees ticket making an extra effort.
Where at OTT, the majority will be more or less okay with SHERNI and its presentation watching it in the comfort of their homes, in the theaters it surely would have generated some strong reactions by the public calling it a SHERNI without any SHERNI in it as promised. 
In fact that’s how perceptions change when you watch a film buying a ticket in the theater and when you watch it at home, sitting on a couch, for almost free. 

Rating : 3 / 5  

(Streaming on Amazon Prime)

Tags : SHERNI Movie Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, Amazon Prime Movie Reviews by Bobby Sing
18 Jun 2021 / Comment ( 2 )
Vikas Kumar

How right you are about perception changing when one is watching at home at own leisure, without paying extra... and when one takes out time, buys expensive tickets and hence is compelled to sit through the film in the theatre and watch it in one go. Expections kaafi alag hoti hain. Perhaps, that's the reason i can sit through most of the OTT content. Sherni is good and very well intentioned... but yes, it is underwhelming. I expected more.


Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for agreeing and sharing your honest views Vikas.
I really feel this would have generated some extreme negative responses from the same viewers is this was seen in the theaters.
Keep visiting and writing in.

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