Yash Raj Films on Wednesday debuted the first teaser for the upcoming Hindi language revenge saga Shamshera, and it’s already the number one trending video on YouTube India charts. Starring Ranbir Kapoor in his first role since 2018’s Sanju, Shamshera is described as a “high-octane entertainer” set in the heartland of India in the 1800s.
The teaser opens with a sweeping shot of the fictitious city of Kaza, where a ruthless authoritarian general named Shudh Singh rules with an iron fist. These early shots might remind viewers of Mad Max: Fury Road, especially how Shudh Singh keeps his subjects under his boot heels by controlling the city’s water supply and seemingly enforcing some kind of slavery. The villainous character is played by the legendary Sanjay Dutt.
Funnily enough, Kapoor’s last film—Sanju—was a biopic based on Dutt’s troubled life. It remains his highest-grossing release, but it’s taken him nearly half a decade to capitalize on that film’s success. Shamshera was originally supposed to be released in 2019 but was delayed several times due to the pandemic.
And for good reason, if this teaser is any indication of what’s in store. Fittingly large-scale for the kind of film that it is, Shamshera blends elements of epic Westerns and old-fashioned Hindi action films. It also marks a creative departure for Kapoor, who normally plays introspective heartthrobs. While the teaser wisely doesn’t reveal much about the plot—the central conflict is briefly explained, though—it also resists revealing too much about the title character.
He appears to be some sort of Robin Hood-style dacoit-turned-savior, who leads his tribe in revolt against Shudh Singh. We get glimpses of sweeping desert vistas, and some grand horseback action, as Shamshera charges at the enemy with an ax in his hand. Kapoor’s poetic voiceover in Hindi can be translated as follows: “A storm encircling his breath, eyes of a flying eagle. No one can stop him, as he breaks across the sky like dawn.”
Dutt, on the other hand, has nicely settled into a late-career streak of villainous performances. In recent years, he’s appeared as the antagonist in films such as Panipat, K.G.F: Chapter 2, and most recently, Samrat Prithviraj. His career transition into villainy arguably began with Agneepath, his last collaboration with Shamshera director Karan Malhotra.
This is only Malhotra’s third feature film and his first since 2015’s sports drama Brothers. And for YRF, it’s a make-or-break situation, after two high-profile critical and commercial duds this year—Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Samrat Prithviraj. Kapoor will also star in the fantasy epic Brahmāstra, which is due out in September.
But Shamshera will be released in theaters (and on IMAX) on July 22, in three Indian languages—Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. This suggests that YRF is hoping for it to attract the same crowd that is still reeling from the Telugu language crossover hit RRR. You can watch the teaser here, read the official synopsis down below, and stay tuned for the full trailer on Friday.
Shamshera is set in the fictitious city of Kaza, where a warrior tribe is imprisoned, enslaved and tortured by a ruthless authoritarian general Shudh Singh. This is the story of a man who became a slave, a slave who became a leader and then a legend for his tribe. He relentlessly fights for his tribe’s freedom and dignity. His name is Shamshera.