Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Movie Review: Saala Khadoos

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The Story Frame:

Saala Khadoos is the story of a mentor-mentee relationship. Lao Tzu aptly says: "To see things in the seed, that is genius.” This is what a Mentor do. To me this means nothing else as being able to form a personal vision for something. Genius for that matter, is to see the potential in something or someone, although not realized yet (“in the seed”). It is the essence of forming a vision of what might be and then going on making it real. Adi Tomar (R MAdhavan) as a coach does exactly what I mentioned above with his new found raw talent Madhi (Ritika Singh) from the slums of Chennai.  The rise of Madhi from a fish monger to an international boxing sensation and thereby Adi's redemption from his past is what Sudha Kongara's Saala Khadoos depict. The movie is produced under the tutelage of Raj Kumar Hirani and R Madhavan.

Cast: R Madhavan (Adi Tomar), Ritika Singh (Madhi), Mumtaz Sorcar (Luxmi), Nassar (Punch Pandian), Zakir Hussain (Dev Khatri), Kaali Venkat (Saamikannu), Baljinder Kaur (Damayanthi)

Genre: Sports drama

Direction: Sudha Kongara

Produced by: R Madhavan, Raj Kumar Hirani

Production Company: Y NOT Studios, UTV Motion Pictures,

Written by: Sudha Kongara

Cinematographer: Sivakumar Vijayan

Music: Santhosh Narayanan

Film Editing by: Sathish Suriya

Distributors: Raj Kumar Hirani Films, Tricolour Films

Theatre Release: 29nd January, 2016

Language: Hindi (Irudhi Suttru in Tamil)

Duration: 109 minutes

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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

"When the student is ready, the Master appears"! - Buddha. Saala Khadoos is the story of a reluctant student and a coach who is determined to be patient to wait to see the student to be ready. Saala Khadoos of Sudha Kongara is inspirational like any other sports movies. It has the required elements like - the spats between the mentor and mentee, the unruly mentee, the reluctant learner, a difficult past, lack of resources and more over a bagful of hurdles to accomplish the coveted position etc. Having said this, Saala Khadoos had all the possibility of finding a place in the league of Iqbal, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, Chakde, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag but then it falters in fleshing out its characters well and treats the theme peripherally. 

Adi Tomar (Madhavan) a professional boxer with lot of personal hurt and emotional backlogs is aggressive, blunt and a rebel because he has many reasons to be so. One, he was ditched by his own coach Dev Khatri (Zakir Hussain) who is now the National Women's Boxing Head Coach; two, his wife left him for another man; three, he feels he didn't get the due glory as a pugilist; four, now back to the arena as a coach of the neglected and under-rated Indian women's boxing team he wants to ensure that his mentees doesn't fall prey to Dev and his manipulations.

Madhavan as Saala Khadoos is successful in his image makeover from a sweet, calm lover boy  or a docile husband roles he has played in the past to a real khadoos. It seems he has worked very hard to look and act like a khadoos but appears to struggle hard and put lot of effort to raise to the expected level of performance as a coach who is deeply hurt, aggressive and humiliated. There are many instances of encounter with Dev and his mentee where he could have created the magic by a stellar performance but fall short.

Madhi (Ritika Singh) as a fish seller from the slums of Chennai is impressive as a trained kick boxer but needs further grooming in acting. She doesn't look like a fish seller, rather looks like an imported lot to do the act. Having said this, it is quite appreciable to know that she was selected by the filmmaker after auditioning roughly around hundred boxers. Ritika, a national level kick boxer definitely woos you in Saala Khadoos and is partly successful in leaving her mark on screen.

The versatile actor Nassar as a junior coach is good but is underutilized. As a fatherly figure and a considerate coach, Nassar's role has not been explored much. Mumtaz Sorcar as Luxmi, a mediocre boxer and sister of Madhi, has played well in enacting the camaraderie between the two sisters. Luxmi's sacrifice, love for family and her need to get into police force piggy riding a sports quota, she feeling jealous of her sister and her guilt later are not carved out well. All these developments are too quick and it seems that the director is in a hurry to pack up soon. 

The songs Saala Khadoos by Vishal Dadlani, Jagaa Khunnas and Jhalli Pataka of Sunidhi Chauhan are commendable.

Saala Khadoos could have been much better; we missed a great movie come alive. What one should understand and realize is that when you make a movie which is toeing the line of some great movies in the same genre one need to be cautious of not delivering a half-baked product. Still I would recommend you to go and watch Saala Khadoos for Madhavan and his image makeover.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.75/5