Shaurya (English: Valour) is a 2008 Indian courtroom drama film directed by Samar Khan, starring Kay Kay Menon, Rahul Bose, Javed Jaffrey, Deepak Dobriyal and Minissha Lamba. The film is inspired by the Hindi play Court Martial by Swadesh Deepak and is loosely based on the 1992 Tom Cruise starrer courtroom drama A Few Good Men.
|Directed by||Samar Khan|
|Produced by||Haresh Dayani|
|Written by||Samar Khan|
|Starring||Kay Kay Menon|
Set in the context of the Kashmir conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, the film revolves around the court-martial of an Indian Army officer for shooting dead his superior officer. During the court martial, the circumstances leading up to the fratricidal murder are gradually revealed.
The Film opens with a sequence where a Group of Indian Army Soldiers cordon off a Village; as a part of Counter-Insurgency Operation; in the Punj Area of Pulwama Dist in Kashmir Valley. After numerous chase sequences the Shot ends with an Army Officer getting Gunned down by his colleague. The Offending Officer instead of escaping promptly surrenders and is then taken into custody by his colleagues.
The Film then shifts to New Delhi, where we are introduced to best friends & Army Lawyers Major Sidharth Chaudhary & Major Akash Kapoor. While best friends, they both have contrasting personalities, with Akash being a dedicated Army Lawyer and Sidharth being an immature and a care-free Army Officer. Sid, being the son of a Highly Decorated Army Officer, often feels compelled to live up to his father's legacy & therefore he reluctantly chooses to join the Army. However he himself has no plans for an Army career and is therefore on lookout for any chance to quit the Army for an adventurous life.
In the present day, Akash is getting married to his fiancée Nandini, with Sid as his Best Man. Post wedding, Akash informs Sid that their Postings are now due; with Akash himself expecting to get posted in Srinagar. A rather excited Sidharth asks Akash to swing his posting too so that they both could be posted together. Akash, despite his misgivings, agrees to Sid's demands and thus makes an official request to the Army HQ, thus ensuring the same posting for Sidharth.
A week prior to departure, Sidharth becomes aware about him being appointed as a Defence Lawyer & Akash getting appointed as the Prosecuting Lawyer, in a murder case involving two Army Officers, both belonging to the elite Rashtriya Rifles. On being aware about the nature of his new posting, Sidharth, who had the hopes of a tension-free tenure; throws a childish Fit, but ends up getting shut up by an annoyed Akash.
Meanwhile, a young aspiring Srinagar based Reporter Kavya Shastry, in the hopes of a big story; chances upon the murder case involving two Army Officers. On further research, Kavya gathers that their names were Capt. Javed Khan & Major Virendra Singh Rathore; who, when deployed for a CI Operation; got into an argument, which ended with Javed fatally shooting Rathore. An Army Inquiry deems Javed guilty of insubordination and murder, and is then to be subjected to a General Court Martial after a show trial.
An enthusiastic Kavya attempts to approach Javed, to get his side of Story, but her efforts fail as the Army authorities flatly refuse her request. Meanwhile, both Akash & Sid arrive in Srinagar, post which the duo get briefed by their CO, about the case. After the briefing Sidharth heads out to meet Javed, for a better understanding of the case.
Javed and Sid meet at the Barracks, where Sid makes a poor attempt at Interrogation. Javed, unimpressed with Sidharth's immaturity, refuses to acknowledge him & continues maintaining a stoic Silence. Javed's behaviour angers and frustrates Sidharth, who ends up leaving in a huff.
Sid later confides his fears and doubts about the case, to Akash; who is understanding of Sid's dilemma. Akash advices Sid to just plead guilty on Javed's behalf, while he promises to take care of all the prosecution work. To cheer up Sid, Akash points out the absurdity of the Case, terming it Open & Shut. According to Akash, Javed is the Guilty party and the Case itself is unsubstantiated, thus making prosecution a cake-walk.
Meanwhile, Kavya, on hearing about the trial, tries to reach out Sidharth; who is Javed's Defence Lawyer. Sid on meeting Kavya gets attracted to her and relentlessly tries to flirt with her. He even attempts to bluff his way through the case; despite not having any idea himself; just to impress her.
His efforts however miserably fail as the unimpressed Kavya calls out Sid and exposes his lies about the case. She further points out that as the defence lawyer its Sid's responsibility to properly analyze the case & present the facts. Before leaving She further tries to make Sid realize the consequences of his decisions & their impact on his life. However while flirting, Sid accidently mentions a senior Army Officer Brig Pratap; who happens to be Javed & Rathore's CO. Kavya gets intrigued and presses for more Info but Sidharth hastily covers up, thus prompting a disappointed Kavya to leave.
After the meeting, however, Kavya heads to her office where she writes and later publishes a slanderous article about Brig Pratap in a local daily; with naming Sidharth as the source of Information. The article spreads like Wildfire and ends up causing huge embarrassment to the Army, thus leading Sidharth to get hauled up by his superiors.
A furious Sidharth later confronts Kavya and accuses her of betrayl and cheap Sensationalism, at the cost of his reputation. Kavya instead hits back and accuses Sidharth of negligience and Immaturity. She further tells him to focus on his job rather than worrying about a silly article.
Sidharth's superiors reprimand him for his actions as Brig Pratap is later revealed to be a highly decorated Officer with a Spotless reputation. Sidharth wishes for a meeting with Brig Pratap so as to apologise to him in person. The authorities grant him the permission & Sid heads out to meet Pratap, who is deployed at a Forward area near LOC.
Sid, on meeting Pratap, gets intimidated. He profusely apologizes for his actions but Pratap simply brushes the incident away. Seeing Pratap's jovial mood, Sid tries to press Pratap for more information regarding the Rathore murder case; but a dismissive Pratap coldly rebuffs him. Sid then tries to get access to the scene of crime and to his relief Pratap accepts his request. Sidharth analyzes the scene of crime and suspects something amiss. He tries to reach out to the local populace but he encounters their distrust towards the Army personnel. Vowing to get to the bottom of the case, Sid heads back to Srinagar. He then meets up with Javed & informs him about his meeting with Brig Pratap. Javed, for the first time speaks; and asks Sid whether he thinks Javed is innocent or guilty. A baffled Sid tells Javed that he will inform his decision to the court along with presenting all the necessary facts.
Later in the evening Sidharth & Kavya run into each other. Despite a rocky start Sid becomes warm towards Kavya, who herself starts appreciating Sid's honesty and commitment. Kavya informs Sid about a major cover up regarding the Rathore Murder Case, involving Brig Pratap and cautions him to be careful. Sid privately agrees and tells her about his meeting with Pratap, with Kavya promising to help Sidharth in every way possible. She later hands him several documents crucial for the case. A grateful Sid thanks her and heads back to further analyse the case. After spending the whole night studying the case, Sid concludes that Javed may actually be innocent and instead be a victim of Cover ups.
A now matured Sidharth decides to take the Case head on. On the day of the prosecution, Sidharth blantantly goes against Akash's advice and to the surprise of many (including Javed himself), declares Javed as not guilty. His actions earn Akash's ire who calls him irresponsible. Sid however maintains his decision and vows to prove Javed's innocence. This causes a frosty relation between the two best friends; which lasts for some time.
Meanwhile, Javed, after witnessing Sidharth's genuine efforts, decides to completely open up. He not only answers all of Sidharth's questions but also provides him with documents that prove Javed's innocence; thus helping him prepare a strong Defence. Kavya, meanwhile, pays a visit to Javed's ancestral village, where she meets Javed's mother. Kavya gathers the necessary information and heads back to Srinagar. She the meets up with Sidharth and the duo chalk out a plan to prove Javed's innocence.
On the day of the trial, Sid presents a credible defence that effectively counters Akash's narrative. While questioning the witnesses who were present at the time of incident, Sid finds one witness, Capt RP Singh, to be suspiciously evasive. However, before he could probe any further, the session ends in a stale-mate. Sid later meets up with Kavya and informs her about the day's Trial.
Kavya then suggests paying Maj. Rathore's family a visit. Next day both Sid & Kavya visit Rathore's home and meet his widow Neerja and her son Kshitij. Kavya attempts to press Neerja for valuable information, while Sid snoops around the house for clues, but both end up empty handed. Sid remarks that it was indeed odd that both Neerja & Kshitij failed to turn up for Maj. Rathore's funeral; but Kavya reveals that their marriage was an abusive one & Rathore's death seems to have sort of liberated her from some sort of bondage. While heading back, Sid comes to startling conclusion that not only proves Javed's innocence all along but also proves Maj Rathore's guilt.
Kavya while researching, comes across evidence of Indian Army's human rights violations. She, on further analysis, concludes that both Brig Pratap & Maj Rathore; who were known to be very close; also have numerous complaints of Human Rights abuses against them. Kavya sends the necessary proofs to Sidharth but ends up getting arrested for trespassing on Army Area and trying to access Sensitive Info without due Authorization. Sid tries to bail out Kavya but fails. Kavya conveys her suspicions to Sid and tells him to focus completely on the case.
One night Javed's mother pays Sidharth a visit. She pleads Sid to fairly judge her son; whereupon Sidharth promises a fair trial for Javed. Meanwhile, Neerja visits Sidharth and hands over several Documents for the case. Sid on further probing finds a strong connection of the murder case with Brig Pratap. He then meets Pratap at his official residence. Pratap reveals that he was friends with Brig Shashank Chaudhary, Sidharth's father, from a long time. He further tells Sidharth as not spoil Brig Chaudhary's legacy. Its there Sid becomes aware about his father's Shaurya.
However Sidharth's troubles increase when an important Witness Capt RP Singh mysteriously vanishes without trace. Sid concludes that RP Singh is a prime witness as he was the one to arrest Javed, thus it was important that RP Singh be found. A few days later Sid gets carjacked by a masked individual, who later reveals himself to be RP Singh. He informs Sid that it was actually Maj Rathore who was the Guilty one while Javed was actually innocent. On further coaxing, RP Singh reveals the actual sequence of events of that night of the Operation.
According to RP Singh; during the operation Maj Rathore Brutalized several villagers and charged them of supporting Pakistan and being Terrorist Sympathisers. He further tortured a young boy in falsely accepting the charge of hoarding Weapons. The sadistic Rathore, still not satisfied, shot the boy in cold blood, terrifying the villagers and horrifying the soldiers. Javed, on witnessing the killing, tries to appease an enraged Rathore, who instead accuses Javed of treason and tries to brutalize a young girl. A fed up Javed promptly shoots down Rathore; thus saving the Girl & the villagers. Here RP Singh points out that despite a golden chance of escaping undetected and fully evading Capture, Javed instead chose to surrender and accept his punishment.
Sid, satisfied with RP Singh's explanation, asks him to give his confession in the court, but to his great dismay, RP Singh refuses and instead runs into hiding, where he then committs Suicide. Thus with no credible witnesses available Sid decides to take Brig Pratap to court. His decision shocks Akash and Kavya, both of whom caution Sid about the consequences of his actions.
Sid stands by his decision and on the day of Trial, Pratap makes an entry and heads towards the witness box. The trial then starts of poorly with Sid fumbling and Pratap getting the upper hand. A frustrated Sidharth decides to beat Pratap at his own game.
In the guise of a memory quiz, Sid coaxes Pratap into revealing his involvement in the Rathore Murder Case. He then further levels charges of Human Rights Violations & abuse of Power against Pratap, who simply rubishhes the charges. This prompts Sidharth to call Pratap a coward. An enraged Pratap then launches into a fiery tirade that inverdently exposes his deep bigotry towards Muslims and his complete disregard for Democracy.
Pratap tries to justify his actions in the name of Nationalism & Ptarotism, but Sid calls out his bluff thus exposing Pratap's lie. In the end the Army Court declares Javed innocent and restores all of his Rank & honours and clears him of all charges and also simultaneously orders a high level inquiry against Brig Pratap.
In the final conclusion, a grateful Javed finally acknowledges Sidharth as an Officer. Aakash and Sid finally make peace and Sidharth later goes to meet Kavya.
The film was criticized for its simplistic handling of communal and security issues. However, most critics praised the performances of the lead actors, in particular Rahul Bose and Kay Kay Menon, and acknowledged the film's noble intentions. The film did only average business at the box-office.
- Kay Kay Menon as Brigadier Rudra Pratap Singh
- Rahul Bose as Major Siddhant Kumar Chaudhary
- Javed Jaffrey as Major Akash Kapoor
- Deepak Dobriyal as Captain Javed Khan
- Minissha Lamba as Journalist Kavya Shastri
- Amrita Rao as Nirja Rathore (Major Rathore's widow)
- Seema Biswas as Mrs. Khan
- Pavan Malhotra as Army officer
- Aditya Lakhia as Army officer
- Jeneva Talwar as Nandani, Akash's fiancé
- Denzil Smith as Brigadier P. P. V. Nair
- Subrat Dutta
- Pankaj Tripathi as Major Virendra Rathore
- Bikramjeet Kanwarpal as Colonel Inyat Khan
- "Dheere Dheere"
- "Ghabra Ke Dar Dar Ke"
- "Jaane Kyun Jaane Maan"
- "Dosti Kya Hai"
- "Ghabra Ke Dar Dar Ke"
- "Rome Total War" [Some of the music was copied from the Rome: Total War Game]
- Review: Shaurya
- Sen, Raja (4 April 2008). "Review:Shaurya". rediff.com. Rediff. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- Masand, Rajeev (5 April 2008). "Review:Shaurya". buzz18.com. CNN IBN. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- Khalid, Mohamed (4 April 2008). "Quite a feud court". hindustantimes.com. Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- Tuteja, Joginder (2 May 2008). "Box Office Analysis". indiaglitz.com. India Glitz. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- Shah, Jaykumar. "Shaurya – Movie Review". www.planetbollywood.com. planetbollywood.