Movie Review: Sherni

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Sherni, starring Vidya Balan, Brijendra Kala, Vijay Raaz and Sharat Saxena, released today. The film focuses on a world where the man-animal conflict is almost inevitable, the broad landscape of forests. Sherni has been directed by ace filmmaker Amit Masurkar who has, in the past delivered the masterpiece film Newton, so it's pretty natural to have high expectations before pressing the play button. The way Masurkar takes you in a world of four-legged and two-legged animals through Vidya's eyes is a terrific path you don't wanna miss. Before beginning the journey, you must keep in mind that it's not National Geography; it's Bollywood; only then can you actually get what the director is trying to convey. The plot revolves around an Indian Forest Officer who has recently been transferred to a tiger country where a man-eating tigress is the main suspect of a ghastly kill. There are two rival camps that are using the tigress issue as an opportunity for elections, and the new officer has to fight the tigress and establish her identity in a male-dominated environment. Sherni explores many social, political, environmental and economic issues at once -distressed villagers with no grazing grounds left, wild animals having no option but to venture out of the forest, self-serving politicians being the big-time opportunists and hopelessly comprised officials who are incapable and disinterested in stemming the tide. Vidya is shown to be not as angry as she is disillusioned with the system that she herself is a part of; her resilience and patience in the film make her different from all the other female characters who have battled the patriarchal world. Vidya's character gives loud and clear messages without being too obsessed with it. The line between the human world and the animal world is getting blurred, and this is what Sherni precisely talks about. Coming to the cinematography, Sherni takes you on a terrific route of forests with wide and lush green landscapes coupled with a weird silence which almost seems like a sign of danger. The only thing where Sherni probably lacks is playing with too many topics at once, which might confuse someone who likes to watch a film while following a single track. The film plays with local activism, the importance of preserving the forest land, the patriarchal world, women negotiating age-old culture and values - it's too much packed in a single box. However, the real Sherni of Sherni has to be Vidya Balan and her impeccable and effortless acting! The movie hits you with the reality of the forest world, and it's a must-watch. Sherni is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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