Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5
Sher Shivraj Movie Review : An interesting but not entirely effective retelling of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj-Afzalkhan story
The film is a dramatic retelling of Shivaji Maharaj and his Maratha army’s first major triumph, at the Battle of Pratapgad, which also resulted in the death of Afzalkhan, the general of the Bijapur Sultanate’s army. The story of Afzalkhan’s tyranny and his attempt to kill Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is well known. This chapter from Maratha history has found its way in numerous other projects before but given Lanjekar’s repertoire, it’s obvious that watching this unfold on the big screen will bring a different experience. On that front, the director doesn’t disappoint.
Chinmay Mandlekar has mastered the role of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and in this film too, he brings his top game and stands out among the huge star cast. Mukesh Rishi as Afzalkhan is another standout performer. He channels the rage of the character so well that it angers you as well. It’s a menacing performance from the seasoned actor. Other actors who shine are Sameer Dharmadhikari, Ajay Purkar, Mrinal Kulkarni, Vaibhav Mangle, Isha Keskar and Lanjekar himself in the role of Bahirji Naik. While some scenes bank on too much drama and theatrics, these actors take the experience of watching this film a notch higher.
At the same time, when you know a story as popular as this, watching it unfold over a span of two and a half hours is a little stretched. Lanjekar and team tries its best to keep you entertained with the twists, battles and fights, comic relief and thumping background music. But all that doesn’t entirely succeed in holding your attention throughout. The special effects deserve full marks for effort, but not as much for finesse – the scene where Shivaji Maharaj has a vision about Goddess Bhavani is an example why.
The songs are good, particularly Shivba Raja, which is choreographed well and is oddly reminiscent of the song Sittharala Sirapadu from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.
Sher Shivraj: Swari Afzalkhan is a decent watch, but not as good an experience as Pawankhind. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a film that deserves to be watched on the big screen for the atmosphere it creates. As for the drawbacks in this one, well, there’s the next part which will bring the chapter of Shivaji Maharaj’s tryst with Aurangzeb and the escape from Agra to the cinemas next year.