“Shamshera – Thunder Lightning In A Cookie Jar” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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Starring Ranbir & Ranbir Kapoor, Vani Kapoor, Ronit Roy Bose, Irawati Harshe, Sanjay Dutt

Directed by Karan Malhotra

The horses from Raj Khosla’s 1971 hit Mera Gaon Mera Desh are back in business again after many years, admittedly a little tired. But the gallop is still strong. Sadly there is not much here in Shamshera for the horses to trot about. This is a lamentably lame action film with characters who seem to belong to a time when Laxmi Chhaya would tie the hero to the nearest lamppost and sing Maar diya jay ke chhod diya jaye.

Shamshera has its own Laxmi Chhaya. Vaani Kapoor’s gym-trained body(not sure they had gyms in the 18th century) sways sensuously at various villainous celebrations where Ranbir Kapoor robs the rich of their gold to feed the underdogs.

It’s all done in a tone of self-mockery that never quite makes it into the hall of flames. The spark, sorry to say, is missing. A semblance of order is desperately needed in the soul-dead chaotic universe of our protagonist Balli who doesn’t seem sure whether he wants to be Raj Kapoor in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai or Sunil Dutt in Mujhe Jeene Do.

It’s a chaotic world of legacy and vendetta with characters behaving as if they had recently discovered the medicinal benefits of opium.

High on speed but low on plotting and characterization Shamshera bears an uneasy kinship to Rajamouli’s RRR and Prashanth Neel’s KGF. While some of the supporting cast specially Irawati Harshe and Ronit Roy Bose, takes the excursion into anarchic action seriously, Ranbir Kapoor’s body language suggests he is more into the new millennium than in the British Raj. As for Sanjay Dutt, why the grotesque villainy again so soon after KGF?

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