Cast: Vidya Balan, Sharat Saxena, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Neeraj Kabi and others
Director: Amit Masurkar
Duration: Two hours 10 minutes
Where to watch?: Amazon Prime Video
Critics’ Rating: 3.5/5
A jaded forest officer (Vidya Balan) leads a team of trackers and locals intending to capture an unsettled tigress while battling intense obstacles and pressures, both natural and man-made.
In ‘Newton’ (2017), Amit Masurkar brought the rights of people to vote on-screen even in the remotest areas of the country. While ‘Sherni’, showed the importance of man and wild co-existing in the same ecosystem. There’s always one person who fights for the rights of the conservation of the wild by even being a silent warrior. That’s Vidya Balan in ‘Sherni’ who doesn’t lose her calm or metaphorically roar in this film.
Her character is named Vidya Vincent who is a Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) who just transferred to this area where a man-eater tigress is on the prowl. Every other day she hears the news of humans and cattle being attack by this tigress named T12. Vidya along with her team of trackers leaves no stone unturned in hunting the man-eater to release it at a nearby national park.
But she is shackled by men who think it’s man vs wild and also man vs woman. Vincent deals with sexist remarks by her colleagues for doing her job and she just maintains her composed nature throughout.
Although she is done with her job and vents it out to her husband who stays away in Mumbai, she never shows frustration during her working hours.
In a hunt to catch the tigress, out of nowhere politics get involved and manipulate the villagers to make sure the wild animals is as bigger an enemy as the opposition party.
However, there’s one person who supports Vidya played by Vijay Raaz, a zoologist. While her boss played by Brijendra Kala hires a hunter Sharat Saxena who is hell-bent on killing the tigress (well that’s what he knows).
To protect the tigress, Vidya and Vijay create their team to help it make it to the national park. While others are finding their ways to meet her fate.
‘Sherni’ has a thrilling undertone with add-ons of satire. Amit, in a way, showed the film as a follow-up to ‘Newton’ and it gels well.
Going by the title it will seem like ‘Kaal’ rushing at a quick pace, but no this ‘Sherni’ walks comfortably around the screenplay and leaves her pugmarks in our minds.
Both films have similar themes where the rights of living things are concerned. Be it voting rights or co-exist. If humans can adjust with fellow human beings despite looking down upon each other (sexism, racism and more issues), why not with wild animals?
We rejoice on hearing the population of tigers are increasing in the country and there are people like Vidya who are trying their level best for it to happen. But we have people like Pintu (Sharat Saxena) too who claim to know if a tiger is a man-eater by looking into its eyes.
Vidya’s casting can never be questioned and kudos to Amit for writing a film thinking her on the mind. There are several sequences where we feel she will burst out in anger or throw a fit, but Vidya kept those surprise elements intact with her performance throughout the film.
‘Sherni’ is smart filmmaking that has not been seen in mainstream commercial Hindi films for a very long time. Backed by a kickass ensemble cast, the film once again proved that the ‘content is the king’ era is what will make ‘Bollywood’ witness more success than ever.