“I raised the issue of marriage as I was feeling a bit insecure. Without saying anything, he took out a blade from his wallet, put a cut in his thumb, and filled my maang with his blood,” said Dimple Cheema in an interview with The Quint in 2016. This was the personality of Vikram Batra, the larger than life captain who was born on September 9, 1974.
Shershaah, directed by Vishnuvardhan in his Bollywood debut was an honest adaptation of Vikram Batra’s life. From the iconic dialogue, “Main tiranga lehra ke aaunga, ya to usme lipat kar aaunga,” to filling Dimple’s maang’s with his blood, we see a glimpse of Vikram Batra’s life in the movie.
The movie was an emotional ride for Vishal Batra’s family. According to a story done by Hindustan Times, Vikram’s father said, “I got very emotional when he was suddenly hit by a bullet in the film.” Previously, his twin Vishal Batra had told a leading daily that he had a quiet moment after watching the film, in which he released an ‘emotional havoc’ that he'd kept inside him all this time.
People in Vikram’s life
The film begins with a Ted talk which was actually delivered by Vishal Batra in 2017. Shershah shows us the many people involved in Vikram’s life from their family, his girlfriend Dimple Cheema, to Vikram’s friends. Sahil Vaid played the role of Amit “Sunny” Sood, Vikram’s best friend who played an important role in his life. In addition, we look at his relationship with Dimple Cheema, which was innocent and true.
Stories from the Kargil war
As the end credits of Shershah roll out, we see the names of the several men who fought alongside Vikram in the Kargil war. His commanding officer, YK Joshi, Vikram’s CO and later friend Lieutenant Jamwal or “Jimmy,” Major Ajay Singh Jasrotia who laid his life saving his comrades.
The interesting exchange with a Pakistani soldier about Madhuri Dixit is true as told by Vishal in the TedX interview. In reality, Vikram threw a hand grenade at the Pakistani soldier and said “Ye le beta Madhuri Dixit ka tohfa.”
Vikram Batra was indeed a brave soldier, passionate lover, and true friend. In the same interview with Quint, Dimple told that Vikram had held the end of her dupatta while doing the Parikarma, a Sikh ritual that symbolises marriage. In the end, Vikram smiled at her and said, “Congratulations Mrs Batra.”
In the movie, when they lose Bansi Lal in a sudden attack, he tells Jimmy that the bullet was meant for him and that he died his death. In real life, Captain Batra said this to his sister over a phone call. “Didi, it was meant for me and I lost my man”
While fighting, Captain Nagappa suffered serious burn injuries to his foot after a grenade explodes right next to him. It was Vikram Batra who dragged him out of the bunker and forced him to go down to the shelters to seek treatment. In reality, he said, “Anna, you must go out, you must get treated, I’ll sort these buggers out.”
While climbing 4875, Batra is shown to charge at a bunker and kill three enemy troops alone in hand-to-hand combat. In reality, he had killed five enemy troops and sustained multiple injuries while doing so. Unfortunately, unlike the film, Batra died instantly after being hit by the sniper and did not live to see his men capture the point.
Vikram Batra’s interview with Barkha Dutt during the Kargil war, recreated in the film resounds his true personality, brave, charming, and resolute. His spirit was reflected in his victory signal, “Ye dil maange more.”
He may have died young, but his legacy would live on.