Sherni Movie Review | Vidya Balan’s Latest film 2021 on Amazon Prime
Sherni Movie Cast
Cast: Vidya Balan, Mukul Chadda, Vijay Raaz, Neeraj Kabi, Sharat Saxena, Brijendra Kala
Director: Amit Masurkar
Sherni Movie Review – Like the displaced tigress of the title, the human protagonist of Sherni, a just transferred divisional forest officer, finds herself trapped. Not that she isn’t up to the task. However, in an alien, dead-end, male-dominated environment, being good at one’s job simply isn’t enough if you’re a lady.
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DFO Vidya Vincent, played with impressive restraint by Vidya Balan, has got to fight tooth and nail to save lots of the feminine feline forced out of her natural habitat thanks to continuing deforestation and dried-up watering holes. even as important, she is consistently at odds with entrenched patriarchy.
The tigers and bears pose a true threat to a village on the sting of a forest, but the wild animals are less dangerous than the lads charged with sustaining the delicate balance between the fragile environment and a myopic development model driven by greed.
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Director Amit Masurkar (Sulemani Keeda, Newton), working with a screenplay by Aastha Tiku and dialogues penned by him and Yashasvi Mishra, renders a man-animal conflict drama as an understated, multi-layered, trenchant satire about the politics of gender and environmental conservation. Eschewing excess, Sherni doesn’t growl and roar. It bites.
The supporting actors (Vijay Raaz, Neeraj Kabi, Sharat Saxena, Brijendra Kala, Mukul Chadda) bring back the proceedings a high level of authenticity. they’re aided partially by a tertiary cast made from faces that merge completely with the environs. With all the actors, known or unknown, professional or amateur, looking the parts they play, Sherni doesn’t need to resort to cliched flummery to draw the audience into its beleaguered universe.
The Amazon Original movie is lit and lensed admirably well by cinematographer Rakesh Haridas. He achieves visual fluidity and depth both within the interior scenes and therefore the wide-angle exterior shots, many of which are staged within the still of the night bathed darkly.
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The tranquility of the forest is usually shattered by men bent fish in troubled waters. Among them is an odiously pompous hunter (Sharat Saxena) – about the sole character within the film who borders on the traditional – a smarmy MLA (Amar Singh Parihar) and a hostile former legislator (Satyakam Anand).
Sherni traverses across a variety of social, economic, environmental and political issues with measured steps. Distressed villagers robbed of grazing grounds for his or her livestock, wild animals cornered and compelled to venture out of the forest, self-serving politicians haranguing one another and making tall promises they need no intention of keeping, and hopelessly compromised officials disinterested in, if not incapable of, stemming the tide.
An irate mob attacks a forest guard and sets a government vehicle ablaze after a villager is killed by a tiger. In another sequence, two groups of political workers clash violently in similar circumstances. These confrontations don’t, however, define Sherni in its entirety. The film resists the temptation of staging super-charged run-ins between the forces of conservation and politically connected people that believe in taking the straightforward answer. It trots out steady driblets of data and makes each layer that it unpeels count.
Sherni plays call at a forest somewhere in central India, shortly from where Masurkar’s critically lauded Newton was set. Like Newton, Sherni centers on an upright and earnest government official trying to seek out an edge on slippery ground. Vidya Vincent faces numerous obstacles as she goes about doing her job. The tigress on the prowl, whilst it takes a toll on human lives, isn’t, however, her biggest adversary.
If anything, Vidya feels an affinity with the uprooted tigress trying to form its way, alongside two cubs, across unfamiliar terrain to return to the security of the forest. Decisions that the manipulated forest department makes endangers Vidya’s own well-being also as that of the jungle and therefore the wild animals.
Vidya’s boss is Bansilal Bansal (Brijendra Kala), a person who thinks nothing of schmoozing with the local MLA and his cohorts. Elections are up ahead and therefore the tigress becomes a political football between the sitting legislator and the former one, with the forest warden siding with the previous against the latter, resulting in severe complications on the bottom for Vidya Vincent and her team.
Vidya, a middle-class Malayali married to Pawan Shrivastava (Mukul Chadda), has got to keep off thoughts of quitting the Indian forest service. Her husband warns her against taking any hasty steps because he himself is in peril of losing his corporate job amid a worsening recession.
Vidya isn’t as angry as she disillusioned with the system. Her resistance is made on tact and patience instead of on obstinacy and belligerence, which sets her aside from run-of-the-mill Bollywood heroines battling male condescension and corruption.
She receives support from Zoology professor Hassan Noorani (Vijay Raaz, as spot-on as ever), who doubles up as a DNA collector for a resource-starved forest department. Traps are laid within the jungle to trace the movement and hopefully capture the ‘maneater’, but Vidya and Noorani are up against a politician-official nexus.
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While Noorani is disparagingly described as ‘a butterfly expert’, Vidya has got to grapple with runaway sexism. Orion repeatedly reminds her that no one understands tigers better than he does. Her feckless boss rarely stands up for her. A bar attendant at a departmental party is befuddled when she asks for a whiskey rather than the kaala khatta that he suggests for her. an official claims he respects women and Vidya is sort of a didi to her.
But she doesn’t demand any favors from anyone and holds her ground within the face of repeated acts that smack of outright gender prejudice. “Learn to select your battles,” her one-time mentor (Neeraj Kabi) says to her, presuming that she still needs his guidance.
The many strands of Sherni make it the film it’s. It touches upon the lopsided nature of development, the rights of forest dwellers, the risks of a depleting forest cover, and therefore the lust of politicians for power and pelf whilst the planet around threatens to return unstuck. A song composed by Mayur Narvekar of Bandish Projekt with lyrics by Hussain Haidry (Bandar baant ka Khela) features a dig at the blatant skulduggery of these within the saddle and contributes its mite to turning the film into a bigger commentary on the days we sleep in.
You know exactly what Sherni is trying to convey (tangentially but tellingly) when a minister peremptorily tells Vidya Vincent that no “proof” that she gathers will override the “faith” of the people. The truth, he suggests, is immaterial, thereby admitting that we sleep in an era during which belief trumps evidence and manipulation of facts gets the higher of diligent pursuit of probity.