Sidharth Malhotra: Why ‘Shershaah’ Matters

He talks about how he changed life for the screen to create the fictional character in his war drama.

Captain Vikram Batra has been a household name in India. He fought the Pakistani soldiers in Kargil 22 years ago, inspiring the Indian army to victory against the Pakistanis and the nation. The Param Vir Chakra was awarded posthumously to Batra, who died in battle at 24 from enemy fire.

Bollywood hotshot Sidharth Malhotra plays Vikram Batra and his twin brother Vishal Batra in the war drama Shershaah.

Since he made his film debut with Student of The Year almost a decade ago, Shah Rukh Khan is widely known for the romantic comedy persona he created with films like Kapoor & Sons, Baar Baar Dekho, and Hasee Toh Phasee.

Shershaah is the first Indian film to have been shot on the Kargil war terrain, which is the first time Sidharth is stepping out of his comfort zone since Brothers and Marjaavaan.

Kiara Advani (who plays Vikram Batra’s fiancée) also stars in the project. Tamil director Vishnuvardhan is directing it, so Sidharth is looking forward to providing an audience with a real showcase of his range.


Excerpts from an interview:
A man of courage and patriotism, Captain Vikram Batra is known throughout the country. In real life, however, he had an exaggerated personality and exaggerated dialogue. What does a film look like with someone like that?

It’s true what you said. From Captain Vikram’s book or everything written about him, you find he was a filmy person by nature. He told me about his twin brother, which was fortunate for me; who else better tell me? Furthermore, I had a chance to chat with his comrades on his battlefield, as well as his parents and family. Because he’s been written about so much in the public domain, people began to form ideas about what he would be like.

Because captain Batra said statements on the battlefield like, “Yeh Dil Maange More!” but in two different ways, I built the character by absorbing the two sides of his life: fearless, but also emotional and driven, and the other is this very focused and direct leader. Our goal was to showcase both sides of him to show you his evolution over time.

At the age of 20, he enlisted in the armed forces. Nevertheless, when his seniors saw him on that battlefield, they commented that he was not just talking the talk, as he was leading his troops. As an actor, it was essential to show that maturity and growth, and all of our references helped in that preparation. There are so many details in the way he looks and dresses, from his facial hair to the gear he used to wear.

In addition to the cast members being trained, we had army personnel assisting us on set in Kargil. I think our action pieces would look slightly fresher and new because we’re the first Hindi film to shoot in Kargil, the most authentic place possible where the battle happened.

How did you find the film memorable?

Shershaah emphasizes the importance of both the journey and the destination. When you know that he’s not going to live during that last scene, I found the film’s most memorable or challenging part. Even though there were many ways to approach it, I had that running through my head before we began. The audience knew what would happen, so we had to strike a balance that made sense—having a movie go over so well as an actor was very satisfying at the end.

Did you enjoy working with the upcoming Bollywood debutant Vishnuvardhan?

The commercial film Billa! With Ajith with Vishnu had earlier caught my attention. In the months that followed, we remained in touch, and I watched a few of his other films as well.f his other films as well. The story of Shershaah had evolved dramatically since I heard it years ago when a completely different team was attached to the production. Vishnu’s enthusiasm was so strong once he came on board after all the changes, he was ready to join in right away. The director has been a cinematographer at one point, so he also knows a lot about camerawork, lenses, and technicalities, which can be a real advantage for the actors due to the director’s excellent vision. I think that’s the reason that the film will look visually different from other war films.

We, along with our cameraman Kamaljeet Negi, are delighted with how Vishnu and our cameraman produced such an authentic and raw feeling while shooting on top of that mountain, despite the wind, the rain, and all the elements.