A couple of months ago no one, not even the film makers, would have imagined “Sherdil” would manage to generate the amount of hype it has. The credit for that without doubt goes to the current Pakistan-India tensions. In the aftermath of late February crisis the movie became rather hot on the market.
“Sherdil” tackles these very-current tensions, but the main question is, does it work? The answer is not so simple. Beginning on a high note with a rather well shot aerial combat sequence from the 1965 war, the movie transitions to the present day. We are given a snapshot of Haris’s (played by Mikaal Zulfiqaar) elite lifestyle, although that has no bearings on his career plans. Like his grandfather, he too wants to join the Air Force. He stumbles into Sabrina (Armeena Khan) and there’s an attraction. Their romantic track continues as Haris is accepted into PAF where he later starts his journey towards becoming a fighter pilot.
Later in the film, Haris and Sabrina decide to part, only for their paths to cross again in Dubai, where Haris is participating in an international air force exercise. He also stumbles into Arun (played by Hassan Niazi) here and after some friction the two hit it off. Some more drama and cross border tensions later, the movie heads towards its climax.
**END OF SPOILERS**
The first half passes by quite smoothly, with the supporting actors playing Mikaal’s friends from the academy pitching in competent performances and lending some lighthearted moments. Mikaal tries to channel a bit of youthful exuberance into his performance and generally succeeds. Armeena Khan, who did not perform her own voice-over for the film, does a decent job within the limited scope the script offers her character and also looks stunning in practically all the frames. Her romantic song with Mikaal is well shot and choreographed.
It is the second half where the graph of the film drops a bit and the screenplay begins to unravel. Having said that, within these constraints, everyone from the cast pitches in competent performances and the movie ends on a high note.
The highlight of the film without doubt are its brilliant visual effects. Never in a Pakistani film would you have seen aerial combat sequences, of which there are many in the film, which are so seamlessly shot and rendered. At some points, you are left wondering whether you are watching a Hollywood film.
“Sherdil” would have greatly benefitted from a more tight screenplay and script, which would have allowed for more logical character development and given some margin of performance especially to its two female leads. Also, there was no need for introducing a villain just for the sake of some fight sequences.
All things said and done, “Sherdil” is a commercial film with all the bells and whistles of a masala entertainer, and should be treated as such. This is not for the thinking audience. There is enough romance, glamour, light hearted moments, music and dance, and of course aerial thrills to keep everyone in the audience happy. You will most likely get your money’s worth and importantly there is nothing that family audiences would find offensive. If you do not respect or enjoy masala cinema, this is possibly not for you.
Go watch “Sherdil” with an open mind. You will probably enjoy it. At least, in parts.