There seems to be a new trend of movies based on games played for leisure, which become addictive when they involve a gamble, be it cards or carrom. Striker is based on the latter.
The movie is based in the Mumbai ghetto during the 1980’s when people apparently said, ‘Bombay mein gutter mein bhi paisa milega.‘ The protagonist Surya (R. Siddharth) belongs to a poor but honest and hardworking family. The youngest of four children he looks up to his elder brother Chandrakant, a casual carrom player who quits after he gets into trouble with a gunda Jaleel (Aditya Pancholi). He teaches Surya the game to pass his time and when the kid starts excelling he begins competing in tournaments.
Unfortunately, when they lose their father he quits and starts working odd jobs while Chandrakant takes over the reins of responsibility. He dabbles in a few of his ideas for big dreams hoping for a better paycheck and life. The poor fellow gets conned as after all he does live in the ghetto. A random love angle is thrown in when he briefly courts a Muslim girl Noorie who is never seen again.
Zaid (Ankur Vikal), Surya’s good-for-nothing childhood friend with an affinity for trouble steps in to help. Ironically he himself needs help as he is involved in illegal jobs; he’s invariably running from the police or returning debts. Zaid has a connection with Jaleel and thanks to his ‘bright idea’, the broke Surya re-introduces himself to the game of carrom for fast cash.
There are raids by the police and cons by Bhais which are quite difficult to follow. It’s difficult to decipher Surya’s character as he seems to have no pattern and volatile morals. He’s against bura kaam, but seems to have no problem gambling and storms out on his family when reprimanded for it. Slowly gambling in carrom consumes him along with drinking and smoking and he also rapes a machchiwali (Padmapriya) which he feels guilty about.
The martyr in him wants to save the drug addicted Zaid who is clearly a lost cause. Jaleel seems to want to ruin his life which he partially manages. Anupam Kher plays a Police Inspector who works with the small fish in order to catch the big ones but his gameplan remains unclear.
By the end of it Surya has a conscience, a wife and the blessings of an entire locality which he saves by default in a fit of pain-induced rage. The plot and characters have no pattern and the path of storytelling has a few potholes. For most of the film one has the unsettling feeling of having missed out on something. Even the climax seems disconnected from the movie.
Siddharth is quite charming but seems a bit awkward with his body language. He hasn’t come into his own yet but carries the movie quite well. The feel and look of the movie is very real and its a decent effort. Too much is left for the audience to assume though and the director should have stepped in there.
Links don’t join but the movie manages to tie up.
Contributed by Raashi Malhotra