Sherni Review: No one doubts Vidya Balan’s acting ability. There is no reason to point fingers at the acting abilities of Vijay Raaz, Neeraj Kabi, Brajendra Kala, Sharat Saxena and even Mukul Chaddha. Director Amit Masurkar’s film Newton has received the National Award, so no one doubts his direction. Despite all this, the roar of the lioness does not sound so dreadful. This voice is lost somewhere among conservative men.
A few years back a similar story of a man-eating lioness was publicized in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. It was said that a total of 13 people have become victims of this lioness in that area. Then the court orders were taken out and a private hunter was also included in the team to catch it. Earlier it was intended that Avni or T1 lioness would be sedated with the help of tranquilizer and she would be caught and released inside the forest far away so that she could not attack the men. One day Avni was killed under suspicious circumstances and the case was closed by citing the order of the court. Avni was accompanied by her small cubs, who were not harmed.
The story of the film Lioness is also the same, only Vidya Balan’s angle has been brought in it, for the purpose of making the film. Vidya is in the role of District Forest Officer Vidya Vincent, whose latest posting is in the area of lions. Conservatism, politics, casteism, senior officer-junior officer, husband stricken with boss in private job, restless mother to follow the rituals and escaped by jumping between many pits of mother-in-law, would have loved the forest. But it is also tied at the hands of the job. Rumors of a lioness take hold in the forests of his area. The local MLA and his contractor nephew are openly doing corruption and Vidya’s seniors do nothing.
Vidya’s subordinates also lie to her and keep presenting a wonderful example of comfort in government jobs. Vijay Raj in the role of Professor supports Vidya in the exercise of taking out the lioness and her cubs from that area and leaving them deep in the forest, while there is a whole army of men standing in the way of Vidya, which includes MLA. Sharat Saxena, a friend and hunter who believes in straight hunting. Amit Masurkar is a genius. Prior to this, he had made Newton starring Rajkummar Rao, which was sent to India as an Oscar entry. Newton won many awards. When life progressed a bit from Raj Kumar Rao, Amit reached Vidya Balan. The film is similar to Newton. Shot in the jungles. In Newton there was a Naxalite area of Chhattisgarh, while in the lioness there are forests of Madhya Pradesh. The fate and fate of Newton was almost the same as that of the lioness. But in this film, Vidya spread her voice to everyone without shouting, without raising her voice, without any resistance.
Amit and Yashasvi Mishra have written the dialogues. Sometimes it stings. The interaction between the characters is so normal that it does not seem that they are watching the film. There is a little filminess in Vidya’s character, the rest of the characters are seen as a part of ordinary life, even Ila Arun also plays the role of typical mother-in-law in the role of Vidya’s mother-in-law, but nowhere fake or dramatic is seen.
Vidya Balan’s acting is good. What is the condition of women doing government jobs, it is well shown in this film. How do male colleagues underestimate them? At one place, the villagers are also angry that the lioness killed the man of their village, but the forest department sent a woman for investigation. The way the leaders of both the parties keep displaying their power in the politics of the village and how Vidya tries to build her image among them, it is worth seeing. There is a lot of tension in the climax scene between Vidya and Neeraj Kabi and it is here that the image of the film gets broken. Like a typical Hindi film, Vidya kills dialogues on her officer. Here the writer, director and actress, all three could not work out of tradition. There was scope to do a lot in this scene. Vidya Balan has done well but she is expected to do better than this. It must have been very easy for them. Had she taken any other actress in this film, perhaps this role would have been difficult for her, not Vidya.
Neeraj Kabi has become Vidya’s senior. In one scene, he is seen drinking alcohol in the verandah of the guest house of the forest, sitting with his subordinates and the local MLA. The bonfire has been lit and things are going on. In such a situation, Vidya’s boss Brajendra starts singing a song and the rest insist on lifting Neeraj and dancing… In this short scene, Neeraj has played the role of an officer. In the end, being compelled by the influence of the MLA, they also lay down their arms and are humiliated at the hands of Vidya. Brajendra Kala has fit in such roles. They don’t even need to do anything differently. The character of Vijay Raj is written very well. Napatula speaks. And do Napatula but leave an impact on the whole scene. Sharat Saxena’s arrogant character is very good. He has done full justice to this character. Mukul Chadha and Ila Arun are fit in their small roles.
Rakesh Haridas has captured this film with his camera, taking sarcasm and satire on the system. There is no novelty but Rakesh has made the camera a character in every scene. The camera movement is very good, due to taking some documentary style shots, the sense of jungle in the basic plot of this story is clearly visible. The editor of the film is Deepika Kalra. are experienced. He should have had the freedom to cut 10 minutes in this film. The film has become a bit long. Deepika has done a good job as well as her editing has brought a new character to the film, Time Ka.
The song “Bandar Baant”, composed of proverbs in the film, is written by rebel Qabi Hussain Hydari and composed by Bandish Project. The timing of the song is slightly missed in the film but the song is very fitting and matches with the theme of the film. Akasa and Raftaar’s cow song Main Sherni was also made for the promotion. The film did not get much help from that.
The film is good. Can watch with family. There is no shouting of any kind. The study of the situation. It is not a story of Animal Rights, but a unique interpretation of the challenges of Vidya’s working life through a beautiful animal like a lioness.