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An ex-boxer Baldev Choudhary has had a stain in his boxing career. He wanted to wash it with his son Angad's success, but times were hard and a financial crunch kept him from achieving this dream. Though Angad pulled through fine, Baldev never forgot who ruined his chance. An opportunity strikes Baldev in the form of a T.V. Show. He trains a local boy to get into this media hyped boxing show, but is ditched for a better coach at the last minute. Baldev's younger son Karan has just launched his first music album. Realizing his father is in a crises, he gives up his dream of a musical career to get into the game of boxing. Karan works hard and wins all through thinking that his victory will bring the two pillars of his family together. After winning within the nation, he wins all over the world. The final match is with the current world heavy champion. Written by
Apne is the best boxing film Indian cinema has ever seen. However, as boxing films are rare in Indian cinema -I can only think of the Mithun starrer Boxer and Sohail Khan's Aryan: The unbreakable - that probably doesn't mean much to you. So let me say that Apne is one of the best sports film ever made in India. Still a rare genre in Indian cinema, but it's saying something if we consider the likes of Lagaan, Iqbal and Naya Daur.
But I will not kid you: Apne is definitely not the Lagaan of boxing. Anil Sharmas direction is far too unrestrained and sophomoric to compare to Ashutosh Gowarikers more controlled and sophisticated direction. Its screenplay is too sluggish and overextended to match the fluidic pace of Lagaan, which even at 3 hours 45 min, felt like a breeze. Himesh Reshamiya songs are not even worth the dirt in Lagaan. So what makes this a good film, nay, even near great sometimes? Because there are bursts of brilliance, and when they come, their waves take you in their tide and exhilarate you. Then you come crashing back down again, irritated with the blatant emotional manipulation and the repeating title track, ready to murder the person you came with, because you just cannot bear it anymore --- Then comes another tide and you're riding the high-wave again!
So when do the tides start coming in? After a drawn out first half and a very slow start, with almost endless crying/sentimental scenes, where the characters are not even established yet, but we are expected to emphasise with their deep sorrow, and just for good measure loads of dramatic music and repetition of "Apne, Apne hote hain" to drive the point home; ff there was anyone crying at this point, it was probably because they wanted it to stop! As let up, we have some very contrived comedy, from one of the laughter champion zelebs, which is not far removed from the stand-up routine we see on television. But this ceases as we progress to the second half, into the bread and butter of the film --- BOXING! Pure, unadulterated, BOXING MANIA!
The boxing scenes are so good, that they alone are worth the price of the ticket. If you have seen legendary fights, then expect to see some of the greatest fights ever on the screen. This is not predictable sports film sports scenes, it's full of twists, edge of your seat action, drama, powerful performances and story intrigue. The action is so realistic, that if you are faint hearted, you will flinch and cover your face, otherwise, may cheer loudly. They are going to go wild in India with these scenes. Even here in the UK, some people were loudly cheering in the audience and each blow sent shock-waves throughout the audience.
The credit goes to the stunning choreography, the machine-gun editing, the brilliant visual effects, the bombastic sound effects and the atmosphere the crew have created with mass-crowds chanting and the very authentic ring and auditorium. These are MUST-SEE fights.
And what takes it to a level outside of the stratosphere are the brilliant performances by the Deols. Their performances, especially Dharmendra and Sunny Deol make the audience berserk. And then enter Lucia Garcia in the end, and you are in for a launch into orbit. I think this is the first Bollywood film with a black-person in a substantial role, and kudos to the casting agent for choosing such a fine actor and creating a proper character for him, with some absolutely terrific dialogues. It almost feels like they enlisted a huge Hollywood actor to match acting with the Deols.
What really takes your heart is the inherent patriotism in the film. This is definitely a film made to excite the Indian crowds. The Punjabi flavour and the fragrance of the fields of the India only adds to the patriotic feel. This is a Deol film to the core, but leagues ahead of their other films, and this time with patriotism that you can ride from the beginning to the end. It's this patriotic fervour that makes you want to get up and cheer and scream at the top of your voice. I would be shocked if this film is not a raging success in India. For me, despite the flaws, this is the best film of the year
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