“No force can force her out” – the tagline of The Test Case, perfectly describes what the viewers are going to experience in the 10 episodes. Nimrat Kaur, making her debut in the digital medium plays Shikha Sharma, the girl, who dares to dream and fights hard to make it true. On her journey to become India’s first woman commando, she struggles to break stereotypes, gender bias and also fights for her dignity and rights, not just in the armed forces but also at home. ALTBalaji’s The Test Case is inspiring, entertaining, thrilling and will leave you moved.
The first episode begins with a montage of some soldiers in a combat, ending with a closeup of Shikha badly injured. The show then moves to a flashback mode where we get to see Shikha traveling to the Special Forces Training Camp in Kolipad, in a bus filled with men. As she steps in, the poster “We make men out of boys” welcome her but she doesn’t let it deter her. And when the officer asks her, ‘what do I make out of you?’, she confidently shoots back, ‘a commando, Sir’. From that very moment, Nimrat had us. You clap when she wins, want to push her when she falls and cringe as she is sexually assaulted. And then there are also moments when you just smile, while your eyes can’t help glistening up seeing her fight those battles.
Nimrat is known for the magic she creates on-screen and her performance in The Test Case has only upped her standards much higher. We laud the makers who thought of this petite, feminine beauty as a commando, and kudos to Nimrat, for standing up to their belief. While Atul Kulkarni as Col. Sathe and Anup Soni as Col. Hussain, as always justify their roles, special mention to Rahul Dev for his stellar act as Subedar Bhatti. The mentor and trainer treats Shikha as any soldier but feels a sense of pride, every time she achieves a target. The casting of Shikha’s batchmate played by Akshay Oberoi, Bhuvan Arora, Sumit Suri, Bijou Thaangjam, Tarun Gahlot and Suhail Nayyar, seem to be bang on, with each adding their own flavour. Juhi Chawla, in her special appearance as the Defence Minister, made a mark too.
There are few cute moments in the show, like when Shikha takes up the drinking challenge to win herself a bed in the dorm or steps into the bathroom filled with men in underwear, to take a shower. But the one that shakes you is when Shikha is sexually assaulted by her fellow mate. It shudders and moves you, and brings out a lot of emotions. Also, the scene, when the mystery of the crime and the real culprit is revealed, is quite an unexpected one, definitely the high point in the series. But Nimrat takes away the cake in the climax when she unabashedly abuses and punches her assaulter. The emotional outburst and strength the actor has portrayed is commendable.
Along with all good things, there are a few setbacks. Director Vinay Waikul had a lot of responsibility to carry forward the excellence of Nagesh Kukunoor’s direction, and he did it quite well. But apart from the first episode, the others are quite short ones, ending in just about 20 minutes. Though packed with a lot, the episodes end too soon and it takes a couple of moments to actually realise what just happened. It is a good thing that we are left wanting for more but if it were a bit longer it would have been easier to grapple it. Also, the homosexual angle seemed a little forced, until Ekta is planning to make the next season around the LGBTs joining the army. Anup Soni’s character giving out random poker analogies was definitely not required. With the sport hardly being played by a couple of millions in our country, the anecdotes completely felt flat.
Overall, we loved the series and Nimrat, as you mention in one of the episodes, you are definitely the hero of this story!