After the critically acclaimed movie ‘Newton,’ director Amit V. Masurkar revisits the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India, to tell a story about conservation, human-animal conflict, and institutionalized patriarchy in the touching drama film ‘Sherni.’ The movie tells the story of Vidya Vincent (Vidya Balan), whose new appointment as the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) to a sensitive zone brings new challenges. When two locals die of tiger attacks, Vidya begins a desperate search to find the female tigress responsible before the animal kills more people or is killed in retribution. Here is everything you need to know about the film’s ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Sherni Plot Synopsis
The film begins shortly after Vidya assumes her new position as an officer in the Indian Forest Service. As it is later revealed, this posting is her first fieldwork. Before this, she had a desk job. She is a relatively new officer; the passion that compelled her to pursue this career is still very active. The first time she experiences doubts about her work is when she admonishes a contractor for not filling a watering hole, but then her authority is undermined by her immediate boss, Bansal (Brijendra Kala) because the contractor is the brother of the local MLA.
Vidya’s husband, Pawan (Mukul Chadda), works for a potato chips brand and seems to have this belief ingrained in him that he is perpetually in danger of losing his private-sector job. This puts additional pressure on Vidya as she can’t leave her job despite the growing hostility among the men in power with whom she has to interact every day.
Things quickly start to escalate after a tiger ventures close to a village and kills one of the Villagers’ livestock. This brings Vidya into contact with Hassan Noorani (Vijay Raaz), a zoology professor at a local college and ardent conservationist who can gather DNA samples. The idea is to correctly identify the tiger and then capture it so that it can be later released in a national park.
Vidya learns from one of her subordinates that a major issue that conservation efforts face in the area relates to the lay of the land. There are pockets of villages and farms in the forest, and the animals can’t go from one part of the forest to the other without encountering humans, which often proves to be dangerous for both species. This proves to be prophetic when the tiger kills two people. As the election is set to take place soon, the local politicians, both the MLA and his most prominent opponent, get involved. The MLA also brings in a hunter, Ranjan Rajhans or Pintu (Sharat Saxena), who is predictably more concerned about adding to his tally of total kills than intending to use the bullet as a last resort.
It is revealed that the tiger in question is a female codenamed T12. She turns out to be extremely clever and keeps avoiding the traps the forest department sets up to catch her. The footage they get reveals that she has given birth to two cubs, further complicating the matter. As Vidya races against time to capture the tigress and her cubs, a third human death happens. Although it is revealed that the third person died of a bear attack, both government and the locals blame the tigress.
Sherni Ending: Is Vidya Able to Save the Cubs of T12 Tigress?
After the third human death, villagers are simply unwilling to listen that it was caused by a bear. And because it’s election time, the government goes along with the public sentiment. With the help of Nangia (Neeraj Kabi), a highly-respected officer in the department, Vidya got rid of Pintu for a time. But the media attention that the case is getting brings the minister there, who puts both Nangia and Pintu in charge of the entire operation despite Vidya’s protests.
She still tries to find the tigers before Pintu, Nangia, and their cohorts. Many of the villagers, including a local woman named Jyoti (Sampa Mandal), helps her in her search, knowing that an atrocious act is about to be committed in their names. One of Pintu’s lackeys acquire urine of a male tiger from a zoo, and they spread it where T12 has previously been spotted. This brings the tigress out, and Pintu kills her. Then he makes a forest officer shoot the dead animal with a tranquilizer dart to show they were forced to kill T12 because she was going to attack them.
Fortunately for the cubs, they are found by Jyoti and her family, and they contact Vidya. Having failed to protect their mother, vidya rushes over. When she sees the two cubs, she hugs Jyoti in joy. The film’s title is a misnomer, as “sherni” in Hindi and some other Indian languages mean lioness. The word “baghin” is used for a tigress. However, sherni also refers to a woman with indomitable courage and conviction, traits that Vidya and Jyoti seem to share.
Why does Vidya Destroy Her Resignation Letter?
Vidya has become completely disillusioned with her job after what happened to T12. She has also discovered who Nanagia truly is, a pathetic coward who dances to the tune of his political masters. She types up a resignation letter, intending to give it to her superiors once she arrives at the office. She likely knows that they are waiting for her there with transfer orders. But when she is informed that the cubs have been found, she once more feels the joy of knowing that her work actually matters. She tears the paper into two pieces, effectively allowing herself to be transferred. Later, when her replacement arrives, he complains about the contractor just like Vidya did at the start of the film, and the circle begins again.
The movie’s final scene reveals that Vidya is now posted in the animal exhibition department of a museum. It’s a relatively easy posting, but she also doesn’t have the real-world power that she used to have in the jungles. This is a punishment for a woman who tried to make a difference for all intent and purpose.
Read More: Is Sherni a True Story?