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'Chandu Champion' movie review: Riveting biopic of a paralympics champ

Kartik is compelling as a sportsman with a never-say-die attitude and his physical transformation for the role is impressive.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 10:02 IST

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Chandu Champion
20242 hr 23 min
3.5/5
Director:Kabir Khan
Cast:Karthik Aaryan, Vijay Raaz, Bhuvan Arora

Filmmaker Kabir Khan is known for striking an emotional chord with the audience while also entertaining them. We saw that in the Indo-Pak theme films ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘83’ on India’s first cricket World Cup victory. He shines again in ‘Chandu Champion’, a biopic on India’s first paralympics gold medallist in freestyle swimming, Muralikant Petkar.

As the film opens, an aged Petkar (Kartik Aaryan) is arguing with a police inspector about why he deserves an Arjuna Award. He then narrates his backstory - how a boy from Maharashtra’s Sangli joins the army to fulfill his sporting ambitions. We witness Petkar’s bonhomie with his comrade Karnail Singh (Bhuvan Arora) and his rise up the ladder in boxing under the guidance of Tiger Ali (Vijay Raaz). After an injury in the 1965 Indo-Pak war cripples him, he turns to simming. 

Khan succeeds in humanising his hero and highlighting the small but rich details of his life. The scenes highlighting the student-mentor relationship of Petkar and Tiger Ali are moving. The dialogues are measured but inspiring.

However, it’s mainly a two-man show and one wonders if other characters had a bigger role to play. And though swimming was the sport Petkar was most successful in, Khan doesn’t chronicle that journey in great detail. Kartik is compelling as a sportsman with a never-say-die attitude and his physical transformation for the role is impressive. Vijay plays with aplomb the role of a disciplinarian coach who loves his ward like a son. The music by Pritam is top-notch and Arijit Singh, Amit Mishra and I P Singh sing their hearts out in the inspiring ‘Tu hai champion.’ The movie celebrates a champion whose achievements were largely unrecognised for 50-plus years and Khan does it with an emotional depth that very few can deliver. 

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Published 15 June 2024, 10:02 IST

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