Shaurya:A Courageous Attempt!

Yesterday got a chance to watch ‘Shaurya’ (Courage), a Hindi Movie by Samar Khan. It seems to have got released on April 2008, and worth to mention, a disaster in Box office. This unnoticed movie has only got mention about the alleged plagiarism with ‘A Few Good men’ in web and it’s surprising to see no other analysis on its subject. ApunKaChoice.com is only worried about the plagiarism and puts the tag as fairly watchable without any justification.

Samar Khan is not Manirathnam to hide the inspiration of the movie. He puts it quite honestly in his interview to NDTV.

Yes, the skeleton of the film is A Few Good Men. But I’ve changed everything around. Where in A Few Good Men did they talk about Kashmir and the Muslim identity? It’s like comparing Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. They’re both about the end of the world. But so different.

I think what he is says perfectly fine. Not only the plot but the treatment and the message are different and the movie sounds truely indigenous and creative. I would say the allegation is primarily motivated to do away the disturbing questions raised by the movie. Even if the movie is a copy of something it is thousand times better than the so-called originals of Bansalis, Johars and Chopras. The plot of the movie as given in imdb follows.

Shaurya, revolves around the lives of two close friends, both lawyers in the Indian army.Maj. Siddhant Chaudhary(Rahul Bose) and Maj. Akash Kapoor(Javed Jaffrey).Siddhant is defending and Aakash is prosecuting a soldier,convicted for killing his commanding officer.An unwilling participant at first, Siddhant only begins to take his role as a defence lawyer seriously when he meets a spirited journalist Kavya who makes him realize that the case is not as simple as it seems and that the life of the soldier lies in his hands.

In the course of his investigation Siddhant encounters Brigadier Pratap(Kay Kay Menon), a highly decorated officer with a narcissistic sense of power and fixed ideas.The convicted soldier, Javed Khan, remains mysteriously silent while incidents and testimonials pile up against him. Making a just resolution to the case seems unattainable.

When Siddhant unravels the mystery behind the silence of Javed Khan, he finds that Javed is not a murderer but the saviour of a 6 year old girl from the hands of a monstrous Army Officer Rathore who fell to the bullet of Javed. What follows is a crusade for truth which demands courage and getting the real culprits punished. But it confines within the limits of court hall. In a subtle manner, for the first time in silver screen, the movie underlines the atrocities of Indian army in Kashmir and the arrogant justifications of officers like Brigadier Prathap. The composed argument of the movie on the prejudice against Muslims and the credibility of the so-called fight against Terrorism in Kashmir discomforts ordinary Hindi movie viewer who is showered with Jingoistic filth like Gadar etc.,

It is a well-known, implicit rule that Indian army seldom admits Muslims in its ranks. we often hear Sangh enthusiasts proudly proclaiming it. There comes the the last lengthy dialogue of Kay Kay Menon or the ‘Hitlerian’ speech, which brings the Col.Purohit of Malegaon blasts in flesh and blood to your eyes. Kay Kay Menon reminds Daniel Day lewis with his acting par excellence and at times hijacks the entire movie with his strong persona. I am not convinced with the portrayal of Siddanth as all the innocence that are shown very well gets washed away in the training years itself but that is negligible . But the story has a lacunae as its narrative grows on expected lines which makes it seem lagging at times but it has got to do with form and not the content. These technical black spots cannot be the reason to neglect the strong, loud and clear political message of the movie.

Samar Khan cries out his soul in the Interview, which is the message that echoes in the movie and shocks the Hindutva conditioned psyche.

We don’t confront anything that’s uncomfortable. But the fact of the matter is that the Indian Muslim is living in a very real crisis. What you see in Shaurya is born of a very private anguish. It may not be on an obvious level. But it’s there. If I praise the performance of the Pakistani cricket team, a look would pass around the room. But if anyone else said it, it wouldn’t be noticed. I don’t want to be known as a Muslim. I want to be known as an Indian. Unfortunately in these troubled times that we live in, it’s become embarrassing to be Samar Khan. Why is it that a Khan is asked to prove his patriotism in this country while a Jha is not? Why do I’ve to wear my patriotism on the sleeve? Isn’t it enough that I am an Indian? These are questions that have always troubled me.

The accused Javed khan in the movie puts the above in one line to Siddhanth.

“Sir, mein apne naam ka karz chuka raha hun”(I am paying the price of my name.)

We are happy to see that atleast in Hindi film industry such bold measures are in shape which tell the stories revolving around muslims as lead characters and deals with views contrary to the official line. Thanks to my bong friend who recommended the movie or else watching the poster, i would have simply skipped it as yet another Military melodrama. Samar ends his Interview with these lines.

I honestly feel if we keep closing our eyes to what happened to Gujarat then the Muslims in India will end up getting a dose of Nazism. Yes, Shaurya has made me a more politically aware creature.

We are ended up with doses and doses of Nazism and Counter-Nazism. And yes, Shaurya definitely helps us too to be more politically aware.

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