Rating: 2/5
Indrajit Lankesh’s direction is evidently pretty weak in conveying the struggling story of a popular film actress

Films like these tell us how difficult and tricky filmmaking as an art is. The Dirty Picture is still fresh in the minds. This one is mentioned here because Shakeela reminds you of not only Silk Smitha, the actress (she is a character in this film as well), but also of that Vidya Balan starrer at many points. Not comparing one bit, this one here misses its point. The effort shows where the content has merit, but bland direction is to be blamed for.

Watch the trailer here:


The film traces the life journey of South Indian superstar Shakeela (Richa Chadha), who shot to fame with her titillating films in 1990s.



Written by Lankesh with screenplay by Sunil Agrawal, the film does come up with a story that is worthy. Story isn’t a problem. The problem lies in the screenplay and direction. Pointless, meaningless, aimless. Utterly half hearted direction bores you just 10mins into the film and you wonder how will you even sit through it.

Following an age old narrative structure where a conflict is risen in the first scene and the story moves in a flashback, you know there prevailed immense sense of immaturity during the writing process. Here, the story goes back in time via a narco analysis. You cringe at this thinking, was it even needed?

shakeela, hindi, review, film, 2020
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube)

The story talks of struggles and pains and emotions, but you never feel any of those. Since it’s a biopic, you should have been attracted to the story and the gravitas of it. But more so in the second half, you only wait for the film to end. Blame this on many things put together. Direction of course, as it lacks appeal. Secondly, bland performance by supporting cast makes it look a plastic film. In fact, even Chadha acts artificially in some of her scenes. Thirdly, the production value of the film is too dull; some amateur students’ production seems visually more enriching.

The film follows a conventional narrative where you know exactly what will happen right till the last scene. The subplots are many, but none of them substantial enough to hold you tight. Media trials, a superstar who the main lead locks horns with, some respite in form of a love angle, some friendship, betrayals, accusation games- all what you expect in the typical depiction of events.


Richa Chadha is fine. Don’t know why but she is not the actress here that we know of. She is brilliant otherwise. Here she falters many a times. There are scenes where she is strong but also some where she is out rightly weak. This is also one of the reasons why the film stays low on impact.

shakeela, film, review, hindi, 2020
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube)

Pankaj Tripathi plays Salim, the family audience superstar. His role has layers. Off screen, he is a desperate male. On screen, he is worshipped for giving the audience quality cinema. Tripathi lives up to both the shades wonderfully. He is the only one why this film can be watched.

Ester Noronha as Suhana is pale and dull and not at all effective in her role. She seems to be performing at gunpoint. She smiles forcefully and acts as if under pressure.



The background score sets off to become too ambitious but ends up being flashy and interrupting the main scenes. A poor job here.

Cinematography also is a mix of loud and jarring colors mainly and doesn’t give you anything to adore in terms of visual appeal. On similar plain and kiddish lines is the set designing that it never feels it is a mainstream Hindi film. The lack of budget clearly shows.

Editing by Ballu Saluja matches the other inadequate technicalities perfectly. The film is so poor in its structure that you are always bored of what is shown and how it is shown. Even during the moments of sweet charm, you are sitting plain faced.

A story of such nature should have had you interested, if not highly rooting for it. This one misses a chance. This one is a waste of time.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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