Shershaah (transl. Lion King) is a 2021 Indian Hindi-language biographical war film directed by Vishnuvardhan in his Hindi film debut and written by Sandeep Shrivastava. The film follows the life of Param Vir Chakra-awardee Captain Vikram Batra, from his first posting in the army to his death in the Kargil War. The film stars Sidharth Malhotra as Vikram Batra and Kiara Advani as his girlfriend Dimple Cheema. The film was produced by Dharma Productions and Kaash Entertainment, with Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Shabbir Boxwala, Ajay Shah and Himanshu Gandhi serving as co-producers.
Announced in May 2019, principal photography began in the same month and concluded in January 2020. Initially slated to be released on 3 July 2020, the film was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film then premiered on 12 August 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.The film received mixed reviews from the critics, who praised Malhotra’s performance and the action sequences but criticised the writing of the film. On 31 August 2021, Amazon stated that Shershaah had become the most watched Indian film on the platform.
Vishal Batra delivers a talk on his brother Vikram Batra, narrating the story of his life.
A young Vikram Batra is playing cricket when he gets into a fight with elder teenage kids over a ball, revealing the fearless nature he later became known for. The TV series Param Vir Chakra inspires him to join the Indian Army. A montage shows his patriotism and his desire to join the army as he grows up. At 23, he gets commissioned into the Delta Company, 13th battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (13 JAK RIF) and posted to Sopore as a lieutenant. He develops cordial relations with both his men and locals and takes part in counterinsurgency operations. On one such operation, he defies his CO Lt. Sanjeev “Jimmy” Jamwal but neutralises the perpetrators and saves Jimmy’s life. Jimmy reprimands his approach but gets close to him later.
Back at the base, Batra receives a letter from his girlfriend, Dimple Cheema. The film flashes back to 1995 when Batra and Dimple start dating. They decide to get married, however, Dimple’s father refuses to accept Batra as they belong to different castes. To please her dad, Batra decides to give up his Army dream and join the Merchant Navy for a higher salary. However, his friend Sunny convinces him to not give up his dream. Consequently, Batra and Dimple fight over their future.
Back in present, Delta Company catches an insurgent group’s henchman. In retaliation, the leader Haider ambushes Delta Company by luring them with intel of a weapons cache. Batra’s friend Naib Subedar Bansi Lal is among those killed. Traumatised and vengeful, he tracks down Haider and obtains authorisation from the unit’s CO, Lt. Col. Yogesh Kumar Joshi for an operation. Delta Company led by Batra raids Haider’s house, killing him. Subsequently, he prepares to go on leave as unbeknownst to him the Kargil War nears.
In May 1999 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf begins an offensive to capture Kashmir and sends troops to occupy mountain peaks in Kargil, violating the Geneva Convention and the Shimla Agreement. As news about a potential war gains traction, Batra decides to cut short his vacation and return. He makes his famous promise to Sunny “I’ll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it. But I’ll come for sure.”
The unit is moved to the Ghumri Army Base, as a reserve force, along with other regiments to acclimatise and prepare. The base comes under artillery fire that results in multiple casualties, including Batra’s senior, Maj. Ajay Singh Jasrotia. Three weeks into the war, 13 JAK RIF is moved to active-duty to relieve 2nd Rajputana Rifles (2 RAJ RIF) and tasked with recapturing Point 5140 at 17,000 feet. Batra is assigned the codename “Shershaah” and victory signal “Yeh Dil Maange More”, for radio communication. Jimmy and Batra lead their companies and recapture Point 5140 without casualties, garnering praise in the army and public. Batra is promoted to Captain and nominated for Maha Vir Chakra.
Following their impressive victory, the Army Command tasks 13 JAK RIF with capturing Point 4875 which overlooks National Highway 1 and would figuratively end the war. They begin the assault on Point 4875 the next day, but take heavy casualties due to rough terrain and multiple enemy bunkers. Eventually, they destroy the four bunkers they are aware of. Unaware of a fifth camouflaged bunker, they take heavy fire. Batra tasks Rifleman Yashpal to use a Pakistani RPG-7 at the bunker. A sniper however hits him before he can fire. Batra runs across open ground to rescue him and does so successfully but is hit multiple times by both sniper and AK-47 rounds. As he collapses, he watches Subedar Raghunath Singh take command and charge at the final bunker. He succumbs as the men raise the Indian flag in victory. He is posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his actions on Point 4875.
The ending shows his funeral in Palampur and a distraught Dimple.
Sidharth Malhotra as
Captain Vikram Batra
Krishnay Tuteja as young Vikram Batra
Vishal Batra, Vikram’s brother
Kavay Tuteja as young Vishal Batra
Kiara Advani as Dimple Cheema, Batra’s girlfriend and later fiancée
Shiv Panditt as Lieutenant Sanjeev “Jimmy” Jamwal, Batra’s CO and later friend
Nikitin Dheer as Major Ajay “Jassi” Singh Jasrotia
Anil Charanjeett as Naib Subedar Bansi Lal, Batra’s close friend
Shataf Figar as Lieutenant Colonel Yogesh Kumar Joshi, CO of 13 JAK RIF
Abhiroy Singh as Major Subrata “Subbu” Mukherjee
Sahil Vaid as Amit “Sunny” Sood, Batra’s best friend
Raj Arjun as Subedar Raghunath Singh, a platoon commander in Delta Company
Pranay Singh Pachauri as Rifleman Yashpal
Atul Verma as Rifleman Meher Singh
Pawan Chopra as G.L. Batra, Batra’s father
Mir Sarwar as Haider
Bijay Anand as Mr. Cheema, Dimple’s Father
Himmanshoo A. Malhotra as Captain Rajeev Kapoor
Rakesh Dubey as Major Vijay Bhaskar
Ankur Sharma as Major Vikas Vohra
Jaykartik as Lieutenant Naveen Nagappa
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