SAALA KHADOOS

“Sanki Chala pagli ko sikhane, ab Boxing ke naam par Bawaal hoga.” HaHaHaHa

I enjoyed the first 30 minutes very much. Without any expectations, I took my seat in the theatre and without wasting a second the agenda was on the table with very first scene. The man loves Boxing more than anything else even sex. Mind it this is important because never in the 109 minutes, a single second is wasted in exploring other aspects of his personality. This is good and comforting.

Adi Tomar (Madhavan) is a women’s boxing coach with his own unfulfilled dream of becoming a world champion because of injustices done to him by the corrupt system and his corrupt coach (Zakir Hussain). He finds his last chance to glory in a slum dwelling girl in whom he sees a potential to become a world champion boxer. Rest, I am pretty sure, you can write on your own.

It’s quite delighting to see the producers in Bollywood taking a few hundred out of the budget (several crores) for writing too. In the first 30 minutes, the writing is superb with more punches in the dialogues than in the Boxing. One-liners such as “tum boxing team ki selection pant kholkar band kamre mein Karte ho, main ring mein” are effective in pointing towards the prevailing corruption and exploitation in sports in our country. The dialogues are outstanding. Consider a man saying “sab logo ki Hale Luiya” in a manner that it seems he is abusing. I laughed.

But at the very moment it seemed that the film is going to be a hard-hitting take on corruption in sports, the director, Sudha Kongra, falters and takes a safe, tried and tested formulaic route. The interference of producers in writing is clearly evident during the remaining length. The screenplay and dialogues suddenly become average and the slow pace adds insult to the injury.

Madhavan’s screen presence has enhanced with his enhanced size. He is not just Khadoos but totally mad up in here and plays his part well as the foul-mouthed angry Boxing coach. The girl, Ritika Singh, is lovely and her slight overacting at some places is entirely pardonable simply because overall she is good, in fact, better than most of the debutantes we have seen recently. The supporting cast; Nassar, Zakir Husain, M. K. Raina and some unknown actors (playing father, mother and sister to the girl) provide a very good support.

The Sepia toning used in cinematography at places gives the film the required raw look and feels good. The songs are inconsequential and you would not even remember that they were there.

Again I would say that the main problem with this film seems to be its tried and tested predictable theme of under-privileged, underdog conquering all odds and becoming a champion. Yes, it’s predictable. So what? It’s not a murder mystery. True, It’s not what it could have been but isn’t it the case with every other thing in this world. Trust my words it’s watchable.

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