Depicting realism on the big screen is an effort that needs to be lauded, but getting too technical about it and using jargon/lingo that is difficult to comprehend by the commoner can boomerang. That's the problem with SEHAR, directed by Kabeer Kaushik.
SEHAR has a one-dimensional plot, which may sound interesting on paper, but when translated on celluloid, it just doesn't appeal. The plot and setting may've excited the storytellers [the director, the writer, the producers, the actors], but it may not necessarily excite a moviegoer seeking entertainment-driven content.
Besides, SEHAR may be an honest effort that chronologically documents the life of a heroic cop and his fight against a gangster who spread terror in a state [U.P.], but neither are the incidents well-known to the majority nor the gangster so notorious that it would make the viewer bite his nails to watch the real characters get immortalized on reel.
SEHAR delineates the journey of a newly-appointed 31-year-old S.S.P. of Lucknow, Ajay Kumar [Arshad Warsi], instrumental in bringing together a group of committed police officers under the aegis of Special Task Force.
The Force, bequeathed with a single agenda, succeeds in challenging the might of organized crime in Uttar Pradesh.
And in the process, what unfolds is the ever-changing dynamics of Uttar Pradesh's siyaasat: Railway contracts, ISI involvement, politician-mafia-police-builder nexus, rigid red-tapeizm and criminalization of University students.
The problems with SEHAR are manifoldï¿½
- One, the cop versus criminal saga has been beaten to death by Bollywood film-makers. KHAKEE, AAN, POLICE FORCE, DEV, KAGAAR, AB TAK 56, SATYA BOL, GARV and ZEHER [the list is endless!], there has been a deluge of 'men in uniform' films in the recent past. The plot and setting may vary, but the essence remains the same.
- The director has taken care to present the facts in the most realistic fashion, but the narrative being one-dimensional it gets cumbersome and boring after a point. All you get to see are cops chasing gangsters, spraying bullets and butchering them in the most brutal fashion or gangsters chasing commoners and eliminating them in broad daylight. Sorry, the blood and gore gets on your nerves after a point!
- Three, the rise of a gangster, the politician-gangster nexus, the police encounters, SEHAR comes too late in the day. Hasn't the moviegoer witnessed all this and more in the past?
SEHAR disappoints big time as far as the content is concerned. There's not much meat in the narrative to keep the viewer glued to the screen for the next 2.30 hours. Even the execution of the subject caters to a tiny segment of viewers. The local flavor restricts its appeal further.
SEHAR has just one song [the romantic track], but the song and even the romance bit looks forced in the narrative. Perhaps, the director wanted to balance realism with make-believe, but the romantic bit looks completely out of sync.
Any redeeming points? Yes, a few deft strokes, especially the climax, filmed in a moving train. Prior to that, the sequence when the cops rescue a kidnapped kid from the clutches of the gangsters is well executed.
The thrills here are not those involving fisticuffs, but using pistols. Cinematography is up to the mark. The background score is alright. Dialogues gel well with the mood of the film.
Cast in a serious role, Arshad Warsi gets into the skin of the character and proves his versatility as an actor. But post MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S. and HULCHUL, the actor's image is more of a funster than a serious cop and that will come as a shocker to his hardcore fans. Mahima Chaudhary has been cast for the glamour bit than taking the story forward. Pankaj Kapoor is noteworthy. Sushant Singh does his part effectively. Suhasini Mulay is first-rate.
On the whole, SEHAR is a dull and dry subject that will appeal to a very thin segment of moviegoers. At the box-office, however, it will be a non-starter.