In 2005, journalist-turned-director Samar Khan made an original film called Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye starring Arshad Warsi and Mahima Chaudhary. The movie was SO bad that it set back Warsi’s career by 20 years and ended Chaudhary’s. It also reportedly caused mass dementia, night terrors, and diarrhoea amongst the three people who watched it in the theatres.
It was perhaps then that Khan decided to re-evaluate his life and follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest Indian film directors of his time – including Abbas-Mustan, Sanjay Gupta and David Dhawan. He ‘remade’ a Hollywood film. And as is usually the case, no one in Hollywood knows that their film was remade.
But unlike the crap that Bollywood ‘remakes’ usually are, Khan’s second film, Shaurya, was an inspired (pun totally intended) adaptation of Rob Reiner’s classic, A Few Good Men. It’s anyway hard to go wrong with a story and screenplay that were originally written by the current God of screenwriting, Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), but when you get Kay Kay Menon to reprise Jack Nicholson’s role and add Deepak Dobriyal to the mix, you can’t help forgive Khan for the sins he made with his debut movie.
The film, an almost scene-by-scene copy of the original, is the story of a military lawyer, Major Siddhant Chaudhary (Rahul Bose) who is given an open-and-shut case of a soldier (Dobriyal) who killed his commanding officer. But when he comes across a journalist, Kavya (Minnisha Lamba), who is hell-bent on proving that the case is not what it seems, he digs deeper into it and realises that the Indian army too has a murky side to it that is much rather suppressed than revealed.
What primarily works for the film is the backdrop – the Kashmir valley – only because there are few Indian films that dare to venture into that territory. But mostly, the film works because of Menon and Dobriyal’s chilling portrayal of their characters: the egotistical Brigadier blinded by unjustifiable rage, and the honour-bound Captain, who’d much rather be mute than speak of a truth ‘that cannot be handled’.
Watch it particularly for its taut screenplay – because Sorkin’s writing works in every language.
Starring: Rahul Bose, Javed Jaffri, Deepak Dobriyal, Kay Kay Menon, Minnisha Lamba
Written By: Samar Khan, Jaydeep Sarkar, Aparnaa Malhotra
Directed By: Samar Khan
Note: This recommendation first appeared in MTV Noise Factory, June 2011 issue
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