'Sherni' review: Vidya Balan 'roars' brilliantly in this one-woman show
Patriarchy and prejudice at the workplace is something women face globally, but this nuanced portrayal of a woman in a "man's world" is something only Vidya Balan can execute. Sherni that has her playing a forest officer is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The film also tackles the delicate topic of man's greed and its impact on nature with ease. Here's our review.
'Sherni' cornered by the society, a brilliant meta reference
Balan gets posted somewhere in Madhya Pradesh, and has to deal with a tigress or Sherni on prowl soon after, as villagers are encroaching the forest land to graze their cattle. This simple premise is twisted when the animal starts hunting humans, and local politicians start using the deaths to gain votes. Like the tigress, Balan is also trapped between morals and bureaucracy.
The director is able to add suspense, give a message
The film depicts how animals get a bad rap because humans decide to fulfill their greed and exploit nature. Director Amit Masurkar is able to add suspense, humor and genuine teachable moments throughout the 140-minute-run. We see a sincere officer trying to do her job while men in power are turning everything to achieve their selfish motives, and an ugly side of politics.
Balan leads the show, commands respect; Vijay Raaz grips attention
Balan leads the film almost single-handedly. She is composed, calm and subtle, while being headstrong. She understands the hierarchy and bureaucracy, but still tries her best to do her job without tooting her own horn. Separately, Vijay Raaz is a delight, probably the only man who doesn't feel the need to talk down to a woman, and imparts wisdom without being preachy.
Production is beautiful with a refined script
The production keeps it real; it makes you feel that you yourself are going through the forest looking for the tigress. You also find yourself rooting for the animal, and ponder how much man has exploited the wildlife. The dialogues convey the dichotomy, helplessness, but at the same time, will to fight of the characters.
'Sherni' gets real with its message and depiction; gets 4/5
The film brings different elements of drama, social message, satire together and strings them beautifully. The main downer, however, is the length and some unnecessary sequences, which bog the script down. The commentary on how politicians, high up officials, poachers, basically everyone is concerned with their own agenda, rather than making an effort to restore the ecological balance, is brilliant. Verdict: 4/5 bytes.