Shabaash Mithu Movie Review: Taapsee Pannu captains the Mithali Raj Biopic to victory despite hiccups
Planning to watch the Mithali Raj Biopic, Shabaash Mithu this weekend? Read Pinkvilla Review of this Taapsee Pannu starrer.
Film: Shabaash Mithu
Director: Srijit Mukherji
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vijay Raaz, Inayat Verma, Kasturi Jagnam
You don't always have to win to be termed a winner - that's the learning we take home from the Mithali Raj Biopic, Shabaash Mithu, fronted by Taapsee Pannu. In the initial portions, director Srijit Mukherji establishes the plight of the Indian Women's Cricket Team, which is struggling to not just win a game but fighting for basic needs like food, shelter, cricket kits and a lot more. The filmmaker also brings in a refreshing take to the story by also focusing on the childhood portions of Mithali Raj, going deep into how exactly she found love for the game, and the journey from there on. It's a tale that encapsulates not just the rise of a legend named Mithali Raj, but also the collective rise of the Indian Women's Cricket Team at a global level.
With a holistic approach to her life, one is able to be on the journey of Mithali Raj to make it big for the country. What starts as a personal battle, eventually ends up being a fight for the team, to be noticed in a country that worships the male cricketers. The dramatic portion is where the core conflict of the film lies, and Srijit manages to make a statement without overtly going on the face of the male vs female sentiment.
At a runtime of two hours and thirty six minutes, Shabaash Mithu does tend to get repetitive on the screenplay front, especially in the first half. There are certain sequences that also have a deja-vu of sport drama and real life stories like Chak De India, Dangal, Saina and even Gunjan Saxena. But this has got to do with an overdose of the biopic genre and not the issue with filmmaking. The genre has its limitations, as such underdog stories more often than not have similar templates of incidents. There are certain sequences which tend to go melodramatic, but they are far and few in between. The conflict between Mithali Raj and her brother, Mithun, could have been established in a better way, as the result on screen is rather undercooked.
The cinematography is very good, and so is the camera work in capturing the cricket matches. The dialogues are good - especially the entire monologue post Vijay Raaz's death. However, the batting shots could have been slightly better on the technical front. The best moments in the films start with the entire childhood sequence of Mithali and her friend, Noorie, followed by the intermission block, the entire sequence where Mithali becomes the youngest Indian captain, the confrontation between the Women's Team and CAI, the motivational speech by the protagonist - Taapsee - right before the world cup and the final sequence of the women's team returning to India. The editing could have been crispier. The music by Amit Trivedi is soulful, and the track "Hindustan Meri Jaan" stands out.
Talking of performances, Shabaash Mithu is a Taapsee Pannu show. She is Mithali Raj from the first frame and performs with perfection. Taapsee is subdued in some of the key portions of the film, underplaying on the emotional front too. Watch out for her motivational speech in the second half - it's fantastic. She shines in the emotional and intense moments, though the cricketing aspect could have been slightly better. Vijay Raaz as Coach Sampath, is in his elements, delivering what can be termed a dependable performance. The two child artists - Inayat Verma, Kasturi Jagnam - are delightful in their respective parts. The rest of the ensemble do well.
All in all, Shabaash Mithu deserves to be watched to witness the journey of a woman, who is responsible for the incredible rise of Indian Women's cricket in the last two decades - Mithali Raj. Srijit Mukherji marries cricket with drama and emotions, though there are instances where he does fall in the troops of making a sport film, that bring in the deja-vu factor. Slight trimming would have made the film even more impactful. But nonetheless, by the end of it, the film makes you say, "Kya Baat Mithu". Worth A Watch.