Movie review – Shorgul – Jimmy Sheirgill and Ashutosh Rana make it a decent political drama
By Joginder Tuteja
A drama that manages to impress most when there is politics around it, Shorgul raises some interesting points. While there have been films made on communal issues with mayhem and intolerance, Shorgul does go beyond the surface and keeps one glued to the subject. However, it is the love story element that tests one patience. Now if only this part of the film was cut short and the focus kept solely on the antics of Jimmy Sheirgill, Ashutosh Rana, Narendra Jha and Sanjay Suri, Shorgul could perhaps have entered the zone that Prakash Jha has explored in films like Raajneeti and Satyagraha.
Let’s talk about the film’s strengths first. Right from the time when Jimmy and Ashutosh come face and face in the first 15 minutes of the film, you know that there would be tension each time the two actors would confront each other. The most experienced actors of the lot, they own the screen whenever they are in the frame. On two different extremes of the ideology where Jimmy is all black and Ashutosh is all white (a good role reversal of sorts and against their set image), both men are ‘baahubali’ of sorts in U.P. politics where one wants to own power and another wishes to serve. It is their interaction which is the core strength of Shorgul.
However, the love story element dilutes the story, and how. In the middle of all this drama is a young girl Zainab (played by Turkish actress Suha Gezen) who has is torn between her would-be husband (Hiten Tejwani) and friend-who-loves-her-silently (Aniruddha Dave). The one who causes tension between the trio? Eijaz Khan. Well, too many actors on the frame means there had to be too many individual scenes for them as well, all of which only goes on to increase the film’s length. So while a couple of boring songs only delay the film in coming to the point, the underwhelming performances (except Hiten’s) means you continue waiting for Jimmy and Ashutosh to come back on the scene.
Thankfully, that starts happening towards the interval point and the second half turns out to be way better, what with the political drama, riots and some volatile scenes taking center-stage. Oh yes, all this while you do wonder if some of the scenes could have been more professionally shot and the production values could have been way better. Frankly, many of the indoor scenes, especially the ones featuring Suha, are tackily done with the framing reminding one of the 80s serials from Doordarshan. Still, it is the core plot and the story that is being attempted, which keeps one reasonably interested in the film. Moreover, a twist towards the end is interesting too, hence resulting in Shorgul turning out to be a fair affair. One would have wanted to see more of Sanjay Suri and Narendra Jha though; they are good whenever they come on screen.
Shorgul also has to be considered as one of those rare political dramas where Censors have actually gone easy with respect to references and visuals. Really, one would have expected many more cuts but many instances from the past as well as religion and real life riots have been allowed to stay as-is for screen.
The film may not be an entirely satisfying affair due to an unnecessary long story and inconsistent performances from the younger lot. However, just for what the film is trying to say as well as a good acts by Jimmy Sheirgill and Ashutosh Rana, Shorgul can be given a watch.