Sooraj Pancholi had a dream debut in HERO , a film produced by Salman Khan. The film underperformed at the box office but the hype of the film was such that it opened at Rs. 6.85 crore, which was the highest then for a film featuring debutants. Sooraj then, shockingly, disappeared and four years later, he’s finally back with SATELLITE SHANKAR. So does SATELLITE SHANKAR emerge as a great entertainer and meet the expectations raised by the trailer? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. SATELLITE SHANKAR is about the extraordinary journey of a soldier that brings a nation together. Shankar (Sooraj Pancholi) is a rifleman posted near the LOC in Jammu and Kashmir. He is very popular in his regiment because of his jovial nature. He carries with him an idol of Lord Shankar. He pretends that it’s a satellite that can help him connect to anyone in the world. With this little trick, he keeps the officers motivated, despite them not getting leaves. In a firing by the Pakistani forces, Shankar gets hurt. He’s admitted in the hospital and though the injury is not serious, he is asked to rest for eight days. Shankar requests his commanding officer, Cheema (Sanjay Gurbaxani) that he’ll like to go to his hometown, Pollachi, in Tamil Nadu to meet his mother and get her cataract treated. Cheema agrees on the condition that Shankar reaches the base 8 days later at 8 am. Shankar promises to be back on the stipulated day and time by giving a ‘Sainik shapath’. Shankar’s colleagues request him to hand over gifts and other items to his family members while he’s on his way to his hometown. Shankar then begins his three-day-long journey on the train from Jammu. As soon as he commences the trip, an old couple in his bogie are asked to leave as they have boarded the wrong station. While helping them find the right train at the next station, Kathua, Shankar ends up missing his own train. He along with Meera Bakshi (Palomi Ghosh), a vlogger, then take a taxi to Pathankot, where their respective trains was to halt. Again, Shankar is not able to make it on time in his train while helping Meera. However, the family member of an army colleague Subedar Jeetu Singh (Pradeep Singh) picks up Shankar’s luggage from his train when it halts at a station in Punjab. Shankar reaches Jeetu Singh’s residence in Bagha and uses his ‘satellite’ to spread happiness and solve their problem. Shankar then heads to Agra to finally catch his train to Pollachi. Yet again, Shankar gives it a miss as he gets busy in saving people who were in a bus that had met with an accident. Interestingly, even Meera is there in the bus and Shankar gets captured in her video. He overnight becomes a hero of the nation. Meera takes it upon herself to find Shankar and she sets off to find him. Her followers cross the million mark and they too get involved in this journey to ensure that Shankar not only reaches his hometown soon but also that he’s able to adhere to his ‘Sainik Shapath’ and report back to base 8 days later at 8 am. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Vishal Vijay Kumar and Irfan Kamal's story is utopian but has potential and can be best described as ‘Munna Bhai meets Bajrangi Bhaijaan’! Vishal Vijay Kumar and Irfan Kamal's screenplay however don’t do justice to the plot in hand. A few scenes stand out individually but as part of the film, they seem a bit convenient and unconvincing. Vishal Vijay Kumar and Irfan Kamal's dialogues however are appropriate. But a few dialogues are in Punjabi, Tamil and Bengali and are difficult to comprehend. There should have been subtitles for these lines. Irfan Kamal's direction is weak and a bit unpolished. He had a great subject in hand but first he messed it up at the screenplay stage. Then, with his execution, he spoilt it even more. The first 15-20 minutes seem very silly and one might wonder what exactly is happening in the film. The concept of the ‘satellite’ gets clear only after 30-35 minutes in the Punjab village scene. The film boasts of very filmy and convenient plot points and it needed an expert direction so that viewers can digest it. In the absence of it, it’ll be difficult for them to really get engaged with the film. SATELLITE SHANKAR’s beginning portions might seem bizarre. The concept of the ‘satellite’ might not be easy to comprehend. Even the scene of Shankar getting injured in the cross-border firing is not well helmed, although the idea is interesting. The film gets a bit interesting as Shankar gets in the train and he ends up missing it. However, he misses his train three times and that becomes too much. What stands out in the first half is the scene in the Punjab village and the bus accident sequence. Post-interval, the film has some fine moments but again, the direction and script play spoilsport. Still, the film remains somewhat engaging. However, the climax is when the film really falls down. The stone pelting part looks completely forced and mars the rhythm and even tone of the film. Sooraj Pancholi gives a very fine performance and he’s sure to amaze you with his sheer hard work. There’s this earnestness in the way he has played the part and it’s completely in sync with his character. Also, he is quite entertaining and watch out for the scene where he imitates Prime Minister Narendra Modi! Megha Akash (Pramila) is lovely and lends able support. Her scene at Salem railway station is memorable. But sadly, her track is not well handled and it lacks conviction. Palomi Ghosh has a brilliant screen presence and leaves a tremendous mark. Upendra Limaye (Inspector Chavan) is dependable. Pradeep Singh, Anurag Mishra (Anwar Hussain), Anil K Reji (Sridhar), Asif Basra (Taxi Driver), Subrat Dutta (TC) and Sanjay Gurbaxani are fine. Music is nothing special. is like a theme track and is the only song that works. is foot tapping but comes at a time when viewers are dazed about the film’s concept. is forgettable while has a patriotic feel and hence stands out. Sandeep Shirodkar's background score is appropriate. Jitan Harmeet Singh's cinematography is excellent. The film has been shot in real locations to bring the authenticity and the various locales are well captured. Abbas Ali Moghul's action is dated. Tariq Umar Khan's production design is as per the requirement of the film. Same goes for Dipika Lal and Anirudh Singh's costumes. White Apple's VFX is decent. Chandan Arora's editing is sany complaints. On the whole, SATELLITE SHANKAR is a well-intentioned flick but poor script and direction play spoilsport. At the box office, it’ll have a tough time because of lack of awareness.Read full review
Shankar, a soldier in the Indian Army gets a week off from his duty, owing to an injury he incurs during a crossfire on the border. But instead of spending this time resting at the hospital, he decides to visit his mother across the country, to help go through her long pending eye operation. But with the many occurrences enroute, will he able to reach her on time? And report back to duty as promised. Shankar (Sooraj Pancholi) is called 'Satellite Shankar' because he has a device which seems to transport people to their near and dear ones when they are missing them. Or basically, just to save a situation when needed. One that makes him very popular in his battalion. When all the leaves get cancelled for the soldiers at the border, Shankar is the only one who convinces his supervisor to trade his sick leave for a few days off. And so, when he heads out from Kashmir to visit his mother in Pollachi, his fellow soldiers pack him with gifts and messages for their loved ones. The rest of the film constitutes Shankar's journey, in which he keeps missing his train because of his helpful and selfless nature. He helps out an old Bengali couple who are on the wrong train. He joins a video blogger (Palomi Ghosh) on a taxi ride as a companion and helps her bust a taxi mafia. He saves people from a bus that is electrocuted and stranded on a railway track. He fights off goons. He even helps his fellow soldier's grandma wake up from her coma like state. And for much of the screen time, Shankar keeps running. In fact, he runs so much that by the end of it, it feels like he has been running for eight days straight (Forest Gump anyone?). And what about the injury because of which he gets this time off? Well, there is really very little logic at play here. As for the 'satellite', it is used a few times and then conveniently disappears for most of the film. And while he is out there solving every problem under the sun, he also has to connect with a nurse, Pramila (Megha Akash), who his mother wants to set him up with for marriage. Sooraj Pancholi tries his best to put in a sincere performance but it mostly comes off as overenthusiastic. Palomi Ghosh is overtly screechy as the video-blogger. Megha Akash and Sooraj share a cute chemistry and some of their scenes together are quite sweet. The entire internet community taking over to see him through his obstacles is a nice touch. 'Satellite Shankar' attempts to tell the story of the sacrifices soldiers make while they fight for their countrymen at the borders. Of their lives being unpredictable, riddled with risks and the pain their near and dear ones go through. But it does so, resorting to every cliche and generalisation possible, with a very weak narrative, almost no story arc and very low production values. Add to that, some very ham-handed scenes. There is an underlying theme of patriotism but the film does little to evoke that overwhelming emotion. 'Satellite Shankar' is a well intentioned film that gets undone due to bad execution.Read full review
Satellite Shankar movie review: This very Forrest Gump-ish intent could have been better realized if the plot had been less simplistic, and the lead actor a little more versatile.
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