This one packs a weak punch

This one packs a weak punch

Saala Khadoos
Hindi (U/A) Cast: R Madhavan, Ritika Singh, Mumtaz Sorcar
Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

She is a fisherwoman who worships Muhammad Ali. He is a disgraced boxing coach on a punishment transfer to Chennai.

The common thread, apart from their love for punches, is that both are foul-mouthed. Also, both have a temper that targets tables and crotches.

Madhavan and Ritika Singh make for a fresh pair. Initially, that is. Once the tempo is set, the guru-shishya journey begins its downward spiral.

It is naive to look for suspense in a sports drama that seeks redemption for the coach and his protege. And it’s certain that the Tricolour will fly high, no matter what. The challenge lies in making the path to pinnacle enjoyable. And that’s where Saala Khadoos fails.

The gruelling practice sessions, dirty politics in selection process, foreign opponents, cheering crowds back home in front of TV sets... it’s all a been-there-done-that. And it doesn’t help that the girl also has the hots for her mentor.

Madhavan is sincere and bankable. His bulked-up act gives some meat to the proceedings. The film also has its moments, thanks to Zakir Hussain, the selection chief who picks women boxers in his bedroom.

Ritika overdoes her gritty machchiwali part (she doesn’t remotely look like one), while Mumtaz Sorcar is far more effective as Ritika’s less talented boxer-sister.

Saala Khadoos stays clear of Mary Kom’s emotional overkill. But then, like Chak de India did, it doesn’t manufacture collective euphoria and goosebumps either.

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