Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

December 1, 2011

Masand’s Verdict: Shaurya

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajeev @ 7:38 pm

  Cast: Rahul Bose, Kay Kay Menon, Minissha Lamba

Direction: Samar Khan

I can’t decide what I’m more upset about. The fact that the makers of Shaurya have blatantly lifted the plot, premise and screenplay of A Few Good Men, or the fact that they haven’t done a good job of copying the film.

Set against the backdrop of the armed forces in Srinagar , Shaurya too — like A Few Good Men — revolves around a court martial. Captain Javed Khan, played by Deepak Dobriyal, is charged with killing a senior officer. What initially seems like an open-and-shut case turns out to be a shameful and shocking case of communal prejudice involving a highly respected officer of the Army, Brigadier Pratap Singh played by Kay Kay Menon.

On another level, Shaurya is also the coming-of-age journey of Major Siddhant Choudhary, played by Rahul Bose, the lazy and distracted drifter who reluctantly takes up the job of defense counsel but dives right in when he suspects the man being held guilty may actually be just a cover-up for a much larger crime.

The film also stars Javed Jaffrey as Major Akash Kapoor, Siddhant’s best friend and incidentally the prosecuting lawyer in this case who clashes with Siddhant in court.

Minisha Lamba, meanwhile, plays a local newspaper reporter who sets off Siddhant on this do-the-right-thing mission, and — because no man and woman can be just platonic friends in Hindi films — is seen emerging as his love interest too.

What I can’t understand about filmmakers who plagiarise successful American films is their misplaced holier-than-thou attitude; they have no shame stealing the entire plot of a film, but they’ll insist on changing key plot points here and there so they can’t be accused of complete duplication.

Invariably, however, it’s these very changes they make in their films that end up ruining a perfectly good story. Samar Khan, writer-director of Shaurya does the same with his film.

His cosmetic changes to the original story of A Few Good Men include those unnecessary set-up scenes where Siddhant and Akash are introduced to us and details of their legendary friendship recounted in long, painful detail; and the elimination of the Demi Moore character, replacing her with the Minnisha Lamba character and throwing in the romantic equation.

But most importantly, the fatal flaw, the ‘original touch’ that botches up this film completely — the ridiculously simplistic Hindu-Muslim angle and the clichéd back-story to Brigadier Pratap Singh’s motivations.

To be entirely honest, Shaurya isn’t a bad film but it could have easily been a better film. It reinforces too many stereotypes and wastes too much time digressing from the main story. Of the actors, Rahul Bose is annoyingly repetitive and tends to get too theatrical where subtlety might have worked better.

He’s completely overshadowed every time he’s in a scene with Deepak Dobriyal whose silences speak louder than Rahul’s dramatic deliveries. It’s Kay Kay Menon, however, who holds the film together with an arresting performance, even though it’s modelled so closely after Jack Nicholson’s in the original, even borrowing that iconic scene leading up to that memorable line “You can’t handle the truth”.

Shaurya is well made and has some truly likeable moments but in the final analysis it is at best an average film.

I’ll go with two out of five for director Samar Khan’s Shaurya, I’d just like to end by saying — if I wanted to watch A Few Good Men, I’d rent it on DVD.

Rating: 2 / 5 (Average)

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