Sports movies by their very nature tend to be predictable, formulaic affairs. They seldom deviate from such traditional narratives as the rise of the underdog, the comeback of the temporarily waylaid, the transformation of the rebel star into a team player, and the redemption of the tireless, committed coach, himself a failed professional.

Saala Khadoos, written and directed by Sudha Kongara Prasad, fails to rise above the timeworn clichés of the genre, but nevertheless succeeds in creating a credible world and, thanks to affecting performances from its principal players, gives us characters that we can care about.
 
Former boxer and disgraced coach Adi (R. Madhavan) is exiled to Chennai by corrupt boxing federation big-shot Dev Khatri (Zakir Hussain), who has an old axe to grind. Now stuck coaching below-average female boxers, Adi finds a potential champion in firebrand fish-seller Madhi (Ritika Singh), whose sister Laxmi (Mumtaz Sorcar) is part of the local boxing team. In Madhi, our cantankerous coach seems to have to met his match, a pigheaded rebel with little regard for protocol.
 
It’s a recipe for melodrama, and the film falls right into that trap. Clashes between coach and pupil get tiresome after a point, but unlike Mary Kom whose screenplay merely glossed over the struggle of becoming a champ, real issues are addressed more honestly here. From the politics involved in selections, to corruption, sexual harassment at the hands of officials, and even the tendency to become romantically involved with mentor figures, Prasad’s script doesn’t skimp on uncomfortable truths.
 
It’s the little details, however, that stay with you. A crackling confrontation scene between Madhi and her sister Laxmi cuts close to the bone, and scenes in which the girls’ mother is revealed to be more broadminded and encouraging than their father are particularly refreshing. The chemistry between Adi and his protégé is combustible stuff, and acting across the board is impressive, with credible turns from such reliable players as MK Raina and Nasser in supporting roles.
 
Of the central cast, Zakir Hussain is terrific as the slimy official, and Mumtaz Sorcar is very good as Laxmi. R Madhavan does a solid job as the shaggy haired, bulky built coach who refuses to give up on his troubled star, but the knockout performance is delivered by real-life boxer and acting debutant Ritika Singh who is wholly convincing as the untamable Madhi. She has an arresting presence on screen, and you’re genuinely moved by her plight.
 
Saala Khadoos sticks to familiar ground as far as a sports film goes, although the climatic bout is genuinely thrilling. Amidst all the faux sentimentality, we still get a protagonist that we can’t help rooting for. That is the film’s real success. I’m going with three out of five.

Did you like this blog?*
How did you find this blog?*
What kind of articles would you like to read on the blog?*
Name:*
E-mail:*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Rajeev Masand

  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Omerta

    Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Keval Arora, Rajesh Tailang, Blake Allan Director: Hansal Mehta In his new film Omerta, director Hansal Mehta seeks to dive into...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of 102 Not Out

    Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi Director: Umesh Shukla Let’s just face it Hindi cinema doesn’t know what to do with senior...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Avengers: Infinity War

    Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe...

    BMS EditorApril 26, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Beyond The Clouds

    Cast: Ishaan Khattar, Malavika Mohanan, Goutam Ghose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, GV Sharada, Amruta Santosh Thakur, Shivam Pujari Director: Majid Majidi Iranian master Majid Majidi,...

    BMS EditorApril 21, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of October

    Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao Director: Shoojit Sircar October, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a thoughtful, meditative film about...

    BMS EditorApril 13, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Blackmail

    Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta, Pradhuman Singh, Anjula Sathe, Gajraj Rao, Omi Vaidya, Vibha Chibbar, Neelima Azim Director: Abhinay...

    BMS EditorApril 6, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Baaghi 2

    Cast: Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Deepak Dobriyal, Prateik Babbar, Darshan Kumaar, Vipin Sharma Director: Ahmed Khan. A distraught young...

    BMS EditorApril 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Pacific Rim Uprising

    Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman Director: Steven S DeKnight I’m one of those who thoroughly...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Hichki

    Cast: Rani Mukerji, Neeraj Kabi, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Harsh Mayar Director: Siddharth P Malhotra There is nothing original, nothing surprising, nothing even...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2018 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news!
Thank You For Subscribing To Us!

Now get regular updates on the latest entertainment news and style trends.

Providing you with the best of Bollywood, Hollywood, style and more.
Get the best in entertainment, while keeping yourself entertained!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
WordPress Popup