Thursday, February 04, 2016

Saala Khadoos 

Light Weight

A newpaper report about women and boxing in North Chennai inspired Sudha Kongara to work on Irudhi Suttru (Final Round), in Tamil and Saala Khaoos in Hindi.  The Tamil film may find resonance with audiences there, but the Hindi version just looks like a watered down Mary Kom or a wannabe Million Dollar Baby.

Most sports films about underdogs beating the odds have a set template, some manage to work despite the predictability; Saala Khadoos barely scrapes through.

The chief attraction if at all, is Ritika Singh, a real life boxer turned actress.  R. Madhavan who plays a disgraced coach (is there any other kind in films?) who needs to prove himself, cannot carry a paint-by-numbers film like this on his buffed up shoulders.

To give credit where it is due, like Chak De, this film too raises issues that affect female athletes. However, even this checklist of apathy and harassment is a bit of a cliché now.

Coach Adi Tomar is sent to Chennai amidst a cloud of scandal, by a nasty boxing federation honcho Khatri (Zakir Hussain). Adi coaches a bunch of second rate boxers, including Lakshmi (Mumtaz Sorcar), whose fiery sister Madhi (Ritika Singh) catches his eye. He sees potential in her; if only she can be disciplined and trained, she has the makings on a champ.

Like in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, this young athlete too falls in love with the much older and not very charming man. The problem is that the film cannot decide just what it wants as its central focus—a love story, a coach-protegee story, or a fisherwoman to champ story. It might have been possible to combine all and add a garnish about India’s awful sports establishment, but Kongara cannot manage this feat. The jarring background score and jhalli patakha kind of songs, just knock the film down flat.


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