Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Shorgul – A lot of noise but no substance




Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Ashutosh Rana, Suha Gezen, Eijaz Khan, Sanjay Suri, Hiten Tejwani, Aniruddha Dave, Narendra Jha,  Neetu Pande, Deep Raj Rana, Hrishitaa Bhatt

Director: Jitendra Tiwari

Borrowing liberally from headline grabbing news about communal polarization effected in the state of UP as part of the process for readying up before the elections, this film has little to show in terms of logic even though it makes a lot of noise regarding communal enmity and the need for a saner mindset and firm and speedy administrative response to calm incendiary bastions of ideological thought.

 The film begins with the heroine Zainab (Suha Gezen) readying herself for something momentous. She is in a burnt down home, lingering on old photographs and waiting for the right moment. What could be her next step?

I don’t think you’d want to worry too much about that because the next moment the camera cuts back into the past where the self-aware heroine, is complimented by her mother, ‘how beautiful you are’ – who then proceeds with the traditional tripe of shaving a tinge of kajal from her eyes and wiping out the bad omens from the underside of her daughter’s chin. I am sure you get the drift too. It’s Eid and the muslim girl is on her way to share kheer with her Hindu neighbours – a landed farmer, staunch Hindu, strong believer in humanity, with great standing in the community, Chaudhary (played by Ashuutosh Rana), his wife and son Raghu (Aniruddha Dave).

Raghu and Zainab have an innocent friendship going but Raghu is half in love with her while Zainab is totally committed to Salim (Hiten Tejwani) her fiancé. Even before the two can sort out their feelings Salim’s cousin, Mustaqeen (Eijaz Khan) enters the scene and kills Raghu in a fit of fury. That incident, combined with the elections just around the corner and a few other incendiary injustices propel the two communities, egged on by their respective leaders Ranjit Om (Jimmy Shergill) and Alim Khan (Narendra Jha) into a face-off. Riots ensue. A grieving Chaudhary steps in to calm the waters but of course better sense doesn’t prevail.

And that’s symptomatic of the film too. There are far too many jumps in illogic and little justification for the carnage that ensues. This is definitely not a brave film by any yardstick. The familiar sounding names, a ghar-wapsi situation of sorts, gau mata as part of a speech mocking an incendiary agenda and several other meek pot-shots at the ones trying to polarize the nation, lack effect mainly because they come at you completely out of the blue.  This is clearly clichéd and conveniently contrived melodrama meant to shock the masses.

Don’t know why filmmakers have to forage outside the country to find a pretty light eyed heroine (without much talent as evinced here). I am sure there are far more talented and better looking girls in India who might have done a much better job in this author backed role. Suva Gezen is so self aware that she wears a constant smirk and is saddled with a dubbed voice that sounds very much like what Sharmila Tagore did in her heyday. The effect is largely off-putting.  Aniruddha Dave appears to have a Rajesh Khanna hang-up and the rest of the performers mesh in, largely unnoticed. Jimmy Shergill gives a suavely chiselled display of political bestiality while Ashutosh Rana puts heart and soul into his pacifist entreaty. But for these two stalwart performers, this film would have been a complete no show.