In what has to be the strangest combination of film releases this weekend, the adult comedy Mastizaade takes on a sports film, Saala Khadoos. We turn our eye to the latter to see how it shapes up a week after the release of Airlift and Kya Kool Hai Hum 3.
Saala Khadoos is an out and out R Madhavan film. He’s almost the only recognizable face in the cast with real life boxing champ Ritika Singh cast opposite him. The film also has Rajkumar Hirani as producer and this may well be a masterstroke as he can help garner the crowds which are looking for a 3 Idiots type film. Madhavan has given two years of his life to beef up and become the coach in this film with Ritika too having to forget her professional boxer calling in order to look convincing in the movie.
The story itself is a quintessential underdog tale and has been with the Director for six long years before seeing the light of day. Sudha Prasad has literally lived the story of the up and coming boxer as well as her mentor and gives the story a grit and ruggedness that makes it necessary to pull this off.
The film starts off well enough and one can clearly see the similarities to Chak De throughout the film – a disgraced coach, an underdog tale and a corrupt bureaucracy. However, the film soon becomes predictable and sentimental, overtly so, making an otherwise promising premise, become fairly boring. There is clearly a North South friction throughout the film but is rarely touched upon and ends up feeling incomplete and contrived. There also appears to be a clear confusion regarding the way the film heads with it trying to be a Rocky and a Million Dollar Baby at the same time, and ending up being neither.
That said, Saala Khadoos does have its moments and when the protégé isn’t trying to get in bed with her mentor, the film does sparkle. It is ably led by Madhavan who has undergone an amazing transformation in order to do justice to his role and delivers an almost Eastwoodesque performance as the coach – certainly his best to date. Ritika is fairly good as well and manages to hold her own in quite some scenes. The supporting cast is fairly able as well with Zakir Hussain playing in a fine turn as the baddie and Nasser and MK Raina also playing their parts well.
A somewhat confused sports film, Saala Khadoos is a refreshing change and a look at a game that is not cricket for once and definitely scores over the other weekend release when it comes to making a movie that is meaningful and motivating. A pity though, that it gets mushy and sentimental when it could have continued to be rugged and hard hitting. Nevertheless, Saala Khadoos does come recommended for those who are not in the mood just for “Masti” this weekend.
Film: Saala Khadoos
Director: Sudha Kongara
Cast: R. Madhavan and Ritika Singh
Stars: 3.5 out of 5