Saturday, August 11, 2007

Check it! India

After a long time I watched a hindi movie on big screen. It turned out to be quite good actually (let me not comment on the "expectations from an Aditya Chopra movie" though).

Bollywood is a barren land as far as sports related movies are concerned. Excepting the hit Lagaan based on the most popular game of Cricket, I don't recall any other sport themed movie (they say, "love is a game, played by many" etc. but that's not quite sport in most of the movies)

The movie is well designed, to fit in a little over than two and half hours, occasional songs are well placed, dialogs crisp and well written and unnecessary, over-amplified patriotism is avoided. If it was too much to expect some coaching drills and game-plans to be explained on screen, this expectation was not entirely ignored. The hockey team was kept away from the unreaistic ideal-ness and divinity as one would expect in a typical hindi movie (not mythological movies). The coach really sounded intelligent most of the time, and a real inspirational figure. He did well in getting the diverse, ever conflicting team of young and hot headed girls and 'managed' to get a real result, nothing short of a world cup.

My opinion about Shahrukh's performance in this movie may be contested by many real critics, but in my opinion he is very good in the role of coach. He has the intelligence, confidence and arrogance of a national team's manager and coach. And thanks to the script writer, he is kept away from unnecessary personal ambitions and affairs, making his story more real and believable. Vindication is surely one of the coach's goals, but it is only secondary. As he preached all through, he worked for the team and the game. I think he is on track to become Richard Gere of Indian popular cinema (if I am allowed to attempt an analogy).

With only Shahrukh as the well-known actor, the whole team as a whole performs well, and most importantly, they do look hockey players. I wonder they were allowed to have a ball on the real hockey field.

Sports movies have one common shortcoming though and towards that, this movie is no exception. The live-match shots are all taken very up close. That breaks the continuity of the match. It is worse than watching highlights of the game. As the shooting has to be done in patches, I guess the director cannot help it.

Overall, a very good movie. If you are sports fan, and/or have played any sport at competitive levels, you should enjoy it. Check it India!

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