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Saala Khadoos  : Packs A Wallop
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Friday, January 29, 2016
Drama
Sudha Kongara Prasad
R Madhavan, Mumtaz Sorcar, Ritika Singh

Indian sports associations have always been plagued by politics, nepotism and demanding sexual favours to be included in the top league.

 

It’s therefore, completely realistic that boxing champ Adi Tomar loses a bash at a gold medal due to his own coach’s deception. Adi hangs up his gloves, turns coach for women boxers and is a very principled one at that. But he’s also a very frustrated man whose wife has run away with another coach.  

 

Actor R Madhavan gets his Chake De! India moment when the sleazy head of the Association plays politics and Adi is disgraced as a coach and given a punishment posting in Chennai.

 

But unlike the composed women’s hockey coach of Chak De!, Adi is angry and outspoken – his words hit with as much force as his boxing once did.

 

Director Sudha Kongara neatly shifts to Chennai and happily avoids the ‘Aiyo, amma, idli-sambar’ cliché. It’s here that Adi spots Madhi, a young and feisty fisherwoman who‘ll brook no nonsense from anyone. Her fists and her words are ever ready to hit out. Adi instinctively knows he’s found a very rare talent and is willing to bet his last buck on her.

 

But being as hot-headed as him, there are clashes until Madhi softens as a woman. But Adi is disappointed that she’s lost her focus in the bargain and literally boots her out of his life.

 

The screenplay makes energetic statements about sports bodies in India but does it with freshness and humour which includes a good-natured dig at religious conversions. Amitabh Verma’s dialogues with inputs from Rajkumar Hirani and R Madhavan make an impact, landing a blow at regular points.

 

It was clever to cast a real life boxer as Madhi as she finally comes into her own and punches her way to triumph. Once you get used to R Madhavan’s outbursts, you begin to appreciate his smouldering intensity. Particularly when he has a silent scene where only his expressions guide Madhi to land the victory jab and become world champ.   

 

Santosh Narayanan’s music and Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics throw up acceptable compositions like Saala khadoos and Jhalli pataka. 

 

For a heartening sports film that’s credible and watchable with a touch of romance, Saala Khadoos gets a 3* rating.

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Journalist & Author

 

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