The Pinkvilla Movie Review- Saala Khadoos
If you walk out of the theatre with mixed feelings about Saala Khadoos, blame Shimit Amin for it. His Chak De India was a far more worthy film that alternated between the theme of championing women’s causes mixed with sports. Don’t get this wrong. By no means is one undermining the sheer effort that has gone into mounting something as passionate as this movie, but it hardly packs a hard punch. We shudder to think what would’ve happened to this project, if they hadn’t got R Madhavan in the lead role. He is a knockout in every frame, every scene but there has very little solid matter to back a performance of that class. When you are watching a film like this, you want to be enthralled, surprised, taken aback. Saala Khadoos is far too plain and synthetic to achieve that. Right from the start, the story feels barren and surprisingly emotionless. If you look at Bollywood’s track record of sports films, be it Priyanka Chopra starrer Mary Kom or Farhan Akhtar’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the stories focused more on minting money than on delving more about the person behind the laurels of a star athlete. Though Saala Khadoos is modest and lot less starry, it is bogged down by an underwhelming narrative.
The amateurish screenplay fails to bring the highs of the sport on celluloid. Watching any kind of sports gives a high but Saala Khadoos never soars. You can applaud its performances, its potential but there is hardly anything to write home about. We can single the story’s constant need to over-inform its audiences as the spoilsport. Seriously, whatever happened to subtlety? Storytellers these days have little faith on the sensibilities of its audience. That rings true in this case as we are spoonfed every detail about the story, even before it comes on screen. The announcement is like a prelude which makes the ride even more difficult.
There are too many parallels with Chak De India, which again dilutes its impact, considering the former was a glorious attempt. Though the performances match up, the story doesn’t. A disgraced coach wants his student to purge his flaws by claiming the winning spot, has nill novelty. Neither as the director nor as the writer does Sudha Prasad attempt to enhance the sketchy plot with their zest.
The film briefly breezes through important issues like scams and corrupt officials and sexual harassment charges to focus on a love story that was a misfire from the word go. It could have been easily done away with. In fact most of these important ideas are never developed in the film. They only make a blink-and-miss appearance in a scene or two. Their back stories are flimsier. Don’t question why Madhavan is so grouchy all through the film. Ritika Singh as the loudmouth, young boxer is impressive but her character never shines.
You’ll have to forgive a lot before you reach the film’s climax. Much like the rest of the movie, it isn’t anything extraordinary. A nailbiting finale ensues but falls short on the drama. Rajkumar Hirani has the acumen of a skillful filmmaker. Hence, he could scoop out the crux of Oh My God and work around it to create something so similar, yet so much better in PK. Sudha lacks the same power and faith over her material.
Madhavan does his best to hold the story as it falls apart with each scene. Alas, the movie never allows him the privilege of being a hero! Despite a few heartwrenching moments of passion, it lacks soul, intensity (which is not the same as rage) and vulnerability. All the sweat and blood that the film claimed it had doesn’t show.
Saala Khadoos’ flaws overpower its genuineness. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a shallow film, but there is a serious lack of heart that cannot be compensated for.
We rate this film a 58% on the Pinkvilla Movie Meter.