Vidya Balan is roaring out loud with her recent outing on Amazon Prime Video in the form of Sherni. Quite a distinct movie taking a look at the wildlife we could say. The Amit V. Masurkar directorial sees Vidya Balan picking up the role of a forest officer bent on saving a tigress. The one has claimed the lives of 13 men from the village. Now the entire village looks ahead to hunt and finish her along with her cubs on all on their own. As intriguing as the story? Is that an event that took place in the past that inspired Sherni? Well, that’s what we will discuss here breaking down Is Sherni A True Story?
Sherni does have print of Amit V. Masurkar for sure. The movie reminds us a lot of Newton from 2017. Another astonishing film to watch any day. Similarly, Sherni brings out what it means to fight the system only to lose at the end of the day. Plus an impressive cast of Sharat Saxena, Vijay Raaz, Ila Arun, Brijendra Kala, Neeraj Kabi, and Mukul Chaddha joins Vidya Balan in this venture as well. Everyone making their presence felt. But this fight for the system and saving the tigress and cubs is a story much similar to an incident hailing from Maharashtra as well. What is it and how it resembles Sherni? Let’s figure it out.
Is Sherni A True Story?
To be clear, Sherni is more of a fictional tale with much-needed drama that adds up to the film. Thus giving us the story from the point of view of the character Vidya Vincent. But we have to say the story Vidya is exploring in the film resembles the real-life incident of Tigress called Avni. She was responsible for the deaths of 13 individuals in the Pandharkawada- Ralegaon forests of the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. Right at the Tippeshwar Tiger Sanctuary. The killing of Tigress became a huge media buzz as she has been doing it since she was just 6-8 months old. Then grew up to give two cubs as well. When Avni was shot down, the news became a sensation and there was a lot of criticism surrounding the case as well. So the story goes on like this.
The True Story of Sherni as in Avni’s story begins back in June 2016. Two villagers from the Pandharkawada-Ralegaon village were getting back to their works. Until they discovered a body of an old woman in the field. What scared them was the way the body damage and a tiger’s claw mark on her back. This was the beginning as more bodies lined up as the animal kept attacking. Soon piling up to 4 bodies and in no time to 13. They later identified the animal as a tigress, T1 also called popularly Avni who also had two cubs.
So in September of 2018, the government of India ordered the Forest Department to hunt the Tigress down. But first, tranquilize her and try to trap her. So that she will be picked up and sent to the rescue center. The shooting was a last-minute measure. An extensive search by the Forest Department with fully-geared equipment saw months of the hunt the tigress down. Still, it was claimed the tigress tried to make an attack resulting in civilian hunter Ashgar Ali Khan taking the shot to kill. The cubs of Avni were later rescued though.
The Criticism For Avni’s Killing
The killing of Avni received a major backlash. Especially with the fact that villagers gifted Ali with a silver tigress as the people in Yavatmal celebrated by bursting firecrackers. An act considered to be trophy killing. Furthermore, activists Sangeet Dore criticized the investigators stating Avni was not a man-eater in the first place. As many of the villagers claimed her to be a man-eater. From the post mortem report of Avni, no human remains were found in her stomach.
Supreme Court later picked up the case. As of now, the case was reopened in 2020 by Uddav Thackeray Government. The wildlife conservationist Jerryl Banait wrote a letter marking how the killing Avni was inconsistent. Later on, Chief Justice SA Bobde stated due to court orders Avni was killed and the Forest department had no hand in the celebration. Plus, the villagers were happy so they celebrated.