Into the Wild

In Amit Masurkar’s Sherni, men are the real beasts

Shreevatsa Nevatia Updated: Aug 16, 2021 19:47:24 IST
Into the Wild Vidya Balan in Sherni

With Sherni (streaming on Amazon PrimeVideo), director AmitMasurkar ticks some of the boxes he did with his 2017 film Newton. An upright government employee again fights that impossible fight—one against systemic apathy and corruption. Much like Newton, Sherni doesn’t manipulate you into rooting for its protagonist. You want VidyaVincent (Vidya Balan)to win, not because she is good or noble, but because Masurkardeftly shows how her work environment is riddled with injustice.

Having been recently posted in Madhya Pradesh as a Divisional Forest Officer, Vincent quickly finds her hands full. A tigress is terrorising the area, killing a villager every few days. Narratives of wildlife conservation and human-animal conflict seamlessly blend into the film’s story as Vincent starts trying to protect T-12, the tigress everyone around wants her to catch. Her empathy for the animal is juxtaposed with the cruelty of Ranjan Rajhans (Sharat Saxena), a hunter desperate for his next trophy.

Nothing in Sherni conforms to a formula. The performances, especially, are all more authentic than typical. Vijay Raaz plays zoology professor Hassan Noorani with a disarming earnestness. Saxena and Balan are both convincing, but it is Brijendra Kala, portraying Bansilal Bansal—Vincent’s morally dubious boss—who proves to be truly memorable.

All the actors take ordinary situations and make them cinematic. Masurkar barely shows us the real tigress. He doesn't need to. Vidya Vincent is enough

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