Yes, it most certainly is a rehash of A few good men. The context has been Indianized effectively. And this despite including Indian movie-making elements like melodrama, out-of-context absolutely-unnecessary songs, difficult-to-digest climax, etc. The Rob Reiner courtroom drama is more about its characters, Shaurya is more about the issue it is trying to highlight. I would say the best way to appreciate the latter is by blocking out the former. After all, even if Kay Kay Menon is no Jack Nickolson, he still is Kay Kay Menon. Not impossible. Give it a try.
Most of the first half is spent in building characters and you hardly know a fact or two about the case, army lawyer Major Siddhant (Rahul Bose), has to handle. Very deliberately then, the movie moves on to the strong point it wants to make - egos of people in power need to be punished for misusing that power to dominate over minorities (women, religious minorities, etc). This is, of course, done using only one of the minorities as a case in point. But the general application is confirmed when you read about various such cases where the same principle can be applied. It takes courage but it needs to be done.
In my mind, it takes courage just to cast Jaaved Jaaferi in a non-slapstick role. It's no earth-shattering performance, but a mere exchange of glances showcases what this man is capable of. Rahul Bose with his casual-cum-sincere demeanor makes you believe the transformation his character goes through despite the gaps in the script. That you feel like slapping Brigadier Rudra Pratap Singh for his overconfidence and high-strung attitude, says it all about Kay Kay Menon.
Now, why overacting is reserved for the women, is beyond me. Of course, I am not asking the men to overact too. But, it really makes me wonder about the kind of women moviemakers have in their lives? They get shrill to express excitement (Minissha Lamba) and are exaggeratedly listless when they are sad (Seema Biswas).
Besides that, Shaurya's characters become believable not because of the way they are etched and shaded-in but because of the dialogues each of them is given. Each character is strongly opinionated but very rarely does one choose to lecture the other or the audience.
The conversational tone might have a lot to do with the camera angles and compositions chosen. Tight close-ups or just having the speaking person in frame has been noticeably avoided. This makes it look more like a dialogue rather than a monologue even though there are relatively long monologues throughout the movie. Other than that the coverage of the scenic beauty, the editing, and the background music are very below average. Abrupt cuts are very disctracting. And did loud compositions ever work in displaying the character's internal conflicts?
Had these things been a bit better, Shaurya would be a crispier, tighter output. Nevertheless, the story and dialogues supporting the story are strong enough to make a case for this one.
- meetu, a part of the audience