'Shamshera': what to expect from Ranbir Kapoor's Bollywood spectacle

The action film, set in 1871 during the British rule of India, marks the actor's return to the big screen after four years

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Fans of Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor can finally see him on the big screen again this weekend with Shamshera, the big budget Bollywood action film that's been four years in the making.

Set in 1871, during the British rule of India, Kapoor is set to play a Robin Hood-style warrior who leads his tribe to freedom. With a reported budget of 1.5 billion rupees ($18.7m), the Yash Raj Films spectacle is one of the most expensive movies to be released this year and features large-scale action sequences and set pieces, some never before seen in a Bollywood film.

Kapoor has not appeared in a film since Sanju (2018), a biopic of the actor Sanjay Dutt who, incidentally, plays the antagonist in Shamshera.

Known for his varied roles, Shamshera will also mark Kapoor's first film as an action hero.

Ranbir Kapoor plays a warrior who leads a band of rebels. Photo: Yash Raj Films

"After 15 years in the industry as an actor, you have to keep challenging yourself and pushing the boundaries. No director ever really saw me in films like this," he said during an event last month to mark the release of the film's trailer.

"I'm really grateful that [director] Karan Malhotra offered me a role like this because I was not getting such offers. They usually saw me as a coming of age or a romantic guy. So I jumped at this offer because I knew this film has the potential to speak to a larger audience, who love going to the cinema for the movie experience."

Distributors are also pinning their hopes on Shamshera following a bleak first half of 2022 at the box office, with the exception of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring Kapoor's wife Alia Bhatt.

What is 'Shamshera' about?

Set in the fictitious city of Kaza, where a tribe is imprisoned by the evil general Daroga Shudh Singh (Dutt) who's been empowered by British colonialists, Kapoor plays Shamshera, a warrior who leads a group of rebels in an all-out battle to free their people.

Expect big action sequences including one on a moving train. In the scene, a 120-metre-long vintage train resembling ones used in the 1800s was recreated at the film studio.

“It took about a month to construct [the] train. I was adamant about showing how such an action sequence could look grand on the big screen. I also wanted to do it in one take," director Malhotra told Mid Day.

Addtionally, to create the film's other sets, it took one year of preparation as well as 500 workers and 140 days to build. Special effects took an additional two-and-a-half years.

“Our vision for Shamshera was to create a visual spectacle like no other. We wanted to create a never-before-seen cinematic experience for our audiences," Malhotra said.

Malhotra is known for his action films, including his debut hit Agneepath (2012) and Brothers (2015).

Who is the cast of 'Shamshera'?

Ranbir Kapoor and Vaani Kapoor star in the Bollywood spectacle 'Shamshera'. Photo: Yash Raj Films

Kapoor and Dutt are the film's main characters while actress Vaani Kapoor will play Sona, Shamshera's love interest. Other cast members include Ashutosh Rana, Saurabh Shukla, Ronit Roy, Tridha Choudhury and Pitobash Tripathy.

There's also a backstory of Shamshera's father, Billa, another warrior, to be also played by Kapoor in a double role.

When will 'Shamshera' be released?

Ranbir Kapoor as Shamshera and Vaani Kapoor as Sona in the film. Photo: Yash Raj Films

First announced in 2018 by Yash Raj Films, Shamshera's release has been delayed multiple times by the Covid-19 pandemic. Originally planned for December 2019, the release date was moved to June 2021, only to be delayed by the second wave of the pandemic.

It is now scheduled to hit cinemas on Friday.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 4:09 AM