Saala Khadoos Hindi Movie Review
You've seen it all before, in boxing movies like Rocky and recently Creed, and you've seen Chak De! and Mary Kom. So you'd think Raj Kumar Hirani would add a bit of finesse to this supposed 'rough' movie about a tough-talking street kid who is a fisherwoman.
But the film is so predictable you could close your eyes and see what is going to happen next. Madhavan with a wild beard and wilder hair is sent off for being rough with the head boxing coaches to Chennai, which has never produced a decent woman boxer.
Nasser shows up as assistant coach to relieve us of what could have been a tedious seen before film about how a diamond in the rough is polished by the sacrifices of the coach...
Nasser holds the angry, misunderstood coach and the feisty fisherwoman who learns to box together. He scolds the young woman and puts in a gentle but firm word in the coach's ears.
Meanwhile the audience watches her train, feel good about boxing, her awful poverty ridden life (drunk dad who snatches money, teary-eyed mother), her sister and rival in boxing. Of course the head coach has spies everywhere and he needs to break the coach-student duo. And just as in Mary Kom, here too, the Sports Authority Of India coaches are shown to be sleazy. There is the predictable 'be nice to me and you'll be in India team' scene, more training, more boxing...
In the end the student wins. Not just any championship, world championships. The coach's belief in the young woman who came out of nowhere is justified and proven. India flags are waving everywhere. The audience feels good about the underdog and critics give it two and three and four stars very generously.
The movie deserves praise for sticking to the sports underdog-movie formula and offering us a decent watch. Madhavan as always is delicious on the screen, despite being given the instructions that he has to be Khadoos (crotchety) all the time. Once you get used to the even louder student (marvelously played by newcomer Ritika Singh), the film sort of grows on you. But the predictability of the story makes its 109 minutes feel like three hours.