Sports film are a niche genre in India, and when we talk about boxing, then there is only a few films ever made on the sport. In recent times Mary Kom was a boxing film that made the cash registers ring, however I wasn't a huge fan of the film(while most of India was going gaga for the film). However with this weeks release Saala Khadoos, I can't say the same. Thats because Sale Khadoos is an endearing, heartwarming , and inspirational film. The film even promotes women boxing. Coming from the Raj Kumar Hirani stable (he produced it) one can also see the great social message a film like 3 Idiots, Munna Bhai gave in a film like Saala Khadoos, this Bi-Lingual (Hindi and Tamil) film is destined to win the hearts of its audience, but to a certain extent. While the former films mentioned were classics, Saala Khadoos is far from being in that league, as things such as predictability, being over melo dramatic bog the film down. However when watching the leads Madhavan and Ritika Singh perform one feels goosebumps from there awe inspiring acts. But more on that later.
Story wise Adi Tomar had a dream to win the boxing gold for India. Instead, he languished in a nightmare for a decade after his gloves were spiked during a match by his own coach, blinding him in the arena and handing the match to his undeserving opponent. Shattered by his loss, Adi turned to a life of cynical self-destruction. Loyal friends somehow bring him back to boxing as the coach of the low-rated Indian women's boxing team. Adi continues to dream - this time for a fiery young woman. Adi spots in her a champion. So begins a partnership between a man who loves his sport and a girl who loves her freedom. It is the beginning of a beautiful friendship and a journey towards an impossible dream.
Acting wise Madhavan gives his career best act as the crazy, angry boxing coach. One can feel his pain and anguish in the film, Maddy has lived the role, and this can be seen in the climax scene when he is fighting his way into the arena, and coaching Madhi from far away. When he says "Merri Muhammad Ali", its a tear jerking, great cinematic moment. Ritika Singh performance is a revelation, her raw energy makes her act so believable.She is a talent to lookout for, and she has the best debut awards already locked for next years awards. Nassar is good, and Zakir Hussain plays the clichéd villain but is still menacing.
Saala Khadoos is everything a sports film should be the story is endearing, one feels for the characters, its inspirational because its a story of an underdog, its heartwarming because the girl is from a poor family, and the film has great social message of promoting women in boxing. The film even goes into the nitty gritty and talks about boxing and the politics, the sexual exploitation that come with the game. The director Sudha Kongara Prasad must be applauded for making a detailed, good movie on boxing in India, one can see the great effort. Even the films runtime at 1hr 50 min is perfect as the film never lags, its very fast paced and right to the point, however the film still has its negatives. Saala Khadoos is a very predictable film,from when the film starts till the end you knows going to happen, especially if you have seen the trailer. The film also is way too melo dramatic, and at any given moment someone is yelling, crying, and even falling in love. There is no normalcy at times.The whole love track was also not needed.Maybe the director tried to commercialize the film, which is not a good idea for a realistic boxing film. And for a film about a underdog in sports, the film has no novelty, the story gives a deja vu film because a story like this has been seen many times on screen.However all minuses withstanding, what makes one forget any negatives are the films leads chemistry which is absolutely lethal. The coach and boxer, act like fish to water together, together on screen the are just so entertaining to watch together. There bickering, and battering is hilarious, Like they said in the film one is mental, and one is full of anger lets see what happens.Amazing happens. The films action scenes are also to be applauded because they are very realistic, and well choreographed especially the climax action sequence which is a goosebumps inducing fight. Technical aspect wise the production values, the way the film is shot is all very average. The films music is good with the title track being the best.
Overall Saala Khadoos is a good watch, and what makes the film a above average watch is Madhavan's and Ritika Singh's performance together they light the screen on fire. Its a honest attempt at highlighting and presenting a good story that should be told.
3.25/5* or 6.5/10
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