Sherni narrates the tale of Vidya Vincent, a DFO, who is working out of Madhya Pradesh. While out in the forest, she is on the mission to track a man-eating Tigree, T12. Helping her through all of this are the villagers. However, as it turns out, she has to deal with multiple barriers on her journey and thus begins the conversation around co-existence, one between humans and animals.
Along its way, the movie narrates a lot of things, the details of which lie in the smaller nuances. For example, Vincent has been on the desk for over 6 years, and now, she is a District Forest Officer. While she is at it, she has to deal with politicians, hunters, and even her own boss. On one hand, she wishes to resign, and on the other, there is a recession. A lot about the movie rightly portrays how a working woman is different from a working man, not just in the expectations that lie on her, but also, the questions that she has to deal with.
There's a relatability factor that Vidya's Sherni brings to the viewers, especially in the sense that everyone is trying to escape, however, there are multiple reasons that one can't. Sherni is truly a movie that seems to have impressed me with the layers it has to it. Kudos to both director Amit Masurkar and writer Aastha Tiku, for being able to portray them right and bring them to light. The movie is optimistic, but it does not preach anything, for it is also cynical when needed to be. Not everyone may like the end, but it is also simply the truth of life, to say the least.
Vidya Balan as DFO Vidya Vincent is terrific, her character sketch is beautiful and she manages to win us over on every scene that she is in. Vijay Raaz is a great addition as the zoology professor while Bijendra Kala is fun to watch, adding moments of lightness to the screen. Neeraj Kabi also manages to do what he is asked to do while Sharat Saxena, the hunter, also has a job well done.
Sherni has been shot and written and even acted out, beautifully. There are a bunch of scenes that leave you thinking, while others evoke a multitude of emotions. Despite all the cynicism, the movie manages to do right by the audiences, for the most part. Interestingly, the movie also has its politics, one you'll know when you see it, and the kind that looks too close to reality. (there's a scene that screams how politicians would go to just any extent).
The movie does feel like a drag here and there, however, we are not complaining. While there are fillers to make sure that there's a sense of continuity, it only seems to loosen the plot. Not everyone may like how the film ends, but then it also gives a sense of it is what it is.
Six months into this year, and Sherni can hands down, be one of the best films that we have this year. Right from the acting to the writing and of course, visuals, the movie does not have loose ends, even with its down moments here and there. It keeps you hooked and deserves a watch.
Ratings: ***1/2 (3.5/5) stars