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Badlapur Boys Review: Intermittently engaging!

Badlapur Boys Review: Intermittently engaging!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Thursday 11 December 2014

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Movie Title

Badlapur Boys

Director

Shailesh Verma

Star Cast

Kishori Shahane, Nishan, Annu Kapoor, Saranya Mohan

After a host of sports films about cricket, athletics, hockey and boxing, comes a film about the humble, traditional kabaddi. Good news, except the otherwise sweet film has been weighed down by cliches and an overdose of sentimentality.

A remake of Tamil hit film Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, the film begins in Badlapur, UP. A man immolates himself in full view of his family (wife, child) and other villagers. The villagers call him crazy, despite knowing he did this to highlight the need for a dam that would benefit several villages.

Post his death, the family plunges further into poverty and the son has to start working for money. The trepidation the mother feels, to see her too-young son go to work is beautifully highlighted in the scene where the boy gets on his employer?s bike with trembling hands. The mother (Kishori Shahane) sobs uncontrollably, but then, that?s her brief for the role throughout the film.

The boy is mesmerized by the game of kabaddi. One day, he leaves the grazing animals alone and joins the kids for a kabaddi game, which leads to him promising his employer that he?ll never play the game again. But he does manage to find time to watch.

Years go by, and our grown-up hero Vijay (Nishan) is still observing the game with interest and awe. Circumstances lead him to an opportunity to play with the team, and fate leads these unsophisticated players to get organized, get a coach and compete in a tournament.

The film is not a ?grand? sports film? the players are not creating a record or winning an exceptionally prestigious match; neither are they exceptionally talented or motivated.

The film chooses to focus on dreams and goals, both overt and covert. So one player wants to win his mother-in-law?s respect, while another wants the adoration of the villagers. Vijay too has an agenda, which is related to his father?s dream.

There are few films that show village life authentically without dressing it up too much or representing a pitiful picture. Badlapur Boys gives us authentic atmospherics, characters and situations. Even the romance develops over stolen glances and interesting conversations where the hero confesses to being uneducated to the college- going girl from Meerut.

Where it falters is in the melodrama and a simplistic resolving of situations. The cliched friend-philosopher-guide comes in the form of the coach (Annu Kapoor) who takes Vijay under his wing. Other stereotypes include the widowed ever-sobbing mother in the worn-out saree. The film also touches briefly upon the politicization of the game, but again, that?s simplistically displayed.

Malayalam actor Nishan is very good as the emotionally conflicted Vijay, who is looking for long-lost respect through the game. The character and his motivations are far-fetched, but Nishan makes us root for the character to a fair degree. Saranya Mohan makes a confident debut and she?s a delight to watch on screen. Annu Kapoor is dependably good, though clearly over-aged for this role. The actor ensemble that make up the Badlapur Boys team do a fair job as well.

Sports films are always fun, down till the last crucial match. This film packs in (unnecessary) melodrama with all the possible cliches of sports films right from the underdog character, to the rousing speeches given by the coach, to the impossible circumstances that must be surmounted. Still, the film directed by Shailesh Verma, has a minimalism that?s endearing.

Worth a watch if you don?t mind the insinuated ?80s style melodrama and the simplistic storytelling.

Rating: Two and a half stars

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