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Sherdil The Pilibhit Saga movie review: Pankaj Tripathi deserved a better film

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Sherdil The Pilibhit Saga movie review: Done well, this could have been a strong satire, but it turns into a listless saga, with only Pankaj Tripathi and its lovely music by Shantanu Moitra standing out.

sherdil movie reviewSherdil review: Pankaj Tripathi's Gangaram is the soul of the film.

Sherdil The Pilibhit Saga movie cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Neeraj Kabi, Sayani Gupta
Sherdil The Pilibhit Saga movie director: Srijit Mukherji
Sherdil Srijit Mukherji movie rating: 1.5 stars

Based on a true story, ‘Sherdil, The Pilibhit Saga’ features an idealistic village ‘sarpanch’ who hits upon a bizarre plan to save his village from utter destitution. It involves him going into the dense jungle in search of a mighty predator armed with nothing but his disarming conviction that there will, in fact, be such an encounter, and that it will be lethal.

There is a patent sincerity of purpose to this Srijit Mukherji film, which borrows its central idea from real life: when humans are so desperate that they are at the point of throwing away their lives, and callous government officials will do nothing to help, what is the way forward? But it doesn’t help that saying something so important is so stretched in a two-hour film which is essentially not even a two-hander, but a near solo act.

The foolhardy Gangaram (Pankaj Tripathi) bids inconsolable wife Lajo (Sayani Gupta), two children and an old mother a final farewell before taking off to the forest. Soon, he bumps into a poacher (Neeraj Kabi) sporting long dreadlocks, who goes by the name of Jim Ahmed, channelling Corbett, who else. And they go roaming in the gloaming, at one time sitting down to a basic meal in which the vegetarian Gangaram is introduced to flesh, at another crouching close to the ground when their tummies run, an activity Gangaram calls ‘mal tyaagna’ with a straight face. And then they come face to face with the striped four-legged majestic beast, the lord of the jungle. Will Gangaram’s plan succeed?

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Only someone like Pankaj Tripathi could have pulled off this role, with a sincerity which doesn’t feel practised. His Gangaram is the soul of the film, which relies far too much on its lead character. Everyone else looks as if they are playing a part. Done well, this could have been a strong satire, but it turns into a listless saga, which lifts only a little by its lovely music, scored by Shantanu Moitra. The songs, one sung by KK whom we sadly lost recently, deserved a better film.

First published on: 24-06-2022 at 01:47:57 pm
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