When you have a name like Rajkumar Hirani (The Munnabhai Series, 3 idiots, PK) attached your to film, expectations from your film are bound to increase. Granted, The film-maker has not written or directed this film, but as a producer he must have seen something good in ‘Saala Khadoos’, that he put his money in it. Was the money well spent? Let’s see.
‘Saala Khadoos’ is a bilingual (simultaneously shot in hindi and tamil) Sports Drama, Starring R. Madhavan as a rough tough and ill-tempered boxing coach Adi and Ritika Singh (who is actually a real life boxer) as Madhi, a Macchivaali (Fish-seller) girl with a talent for boxing. When I told some friends that I am going to watch ‘Khadoos Saala’, they either wondered why bother to watch this movie or didn’t know there was a movie called ‘Khadoos Saala’. Well I love sports films (even if I don’t know the sport its based on) especially boxing and I love underdog stories and what better underdog story than a Macchivaali conquering the boxing ring. So,I decided to give this movie a go. Sadly, that is not the case with ‘Saala Khadoos’.
The very first scene cast doubt on the film in my mind. For no reason, the movie opens with the climax and then flashbacks 9 months prior to the beginning of actual story. From there, you get vital information spoon-fed through awkward exposition-filled dialogues.
The awkward dialogues I can understand, as the film is bilingual and there might be some limitations, but there are also some awkwardly shot scenes. Some of the scenes also have dialogues which are in hindi dubbed over tamil and it is very noticable. The script bounces back and forth between average and childish. There are three separate imstances in the film, where Madhi has flashbacks of events happened in few scenes earlier, which just comes off as pointless and stupid. I am no professional, well not yet, but the screenplay for this film, comes off as written by a amateur. Supposedly based on ‘many true stories’, the script throws in every sports movie trope plus a half-baked romance sub-plot without enough setup and pay-off.
Madhavan makes most out of what material given to him and he along with Ritika Singh as Madhi, hold the movie together with their powerful performances. One of the review of ‘Saala khadoos’ I read online, described the movie as a character study of a teacher-student relationship. The way I see it, this was a film with strong characters which are put in a poor story. If this characters in a film with a better story, I’d totally watch it. Zakir Hussain plays the indian boxing team official and is nothing more than the token ‘evil guy’. Barring the two lead actors, all the supporting cast including Nasser as Junior coach abd lyricist Swanand kirkire (in a cameo) give a cartoonish performance. People in theatre were actually giggling during the scenes which were supossed to be intense and serious. The climax is stretched unnecessarily and includes only clever twist the film tries in entire film, but it just is illogical if you think about it.
Overall, the film just fails to match the power-packed performance of its leading man. R. Madhavan and Rajkumar Hirani should have chosen a better script.
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