Two things about the movie which are absolutely wrong; Firstly its 'Off the mark' marketing strategy and wrong release timing (remember, in cricket, it is all about timing) and two, Meerabai should have been out in this film to drive home the point and have the maximum impact. Let me explain my first point. Perhaps the makers thought that with cricket as a backdrop, their product would be easily accepted. Wrong. Marketing is the buzzword today if early impact and cashing in on the initials are high on the agenda. Also, with cricket taking a beating with the terror attacks (what with the One-day series between England and India called off, and the England cricketers going back); this was not the right time to release this film. It should have been released amidst heavy cricket activity and, perhaps, involving some cricketers in the promotions. Also, I don't think the makers had bargained for Anil Kumble's sudden retirement from Indian cricket. This also is a huge dampener.
Now coming back to the second point. When I said Meerabai should have been out to make maximum impact, I meant when Mandira Bedi (Meera) fails to make it on time for her engagement ceremony because she has gone to watch a match, and the groom to be and his dad and their guests are endlessly waiting for her to come, the director should have called CUT. Sadly, the movie drags on for another 25 minutes to create a happy ending. In cricket, remember, sometimes the last ball is the one that decides which way the match will swing. And Director Chandrakant Kulkarni had worked up a perfect climax; he could have either gone with what happened, with Anupam Kher (her to be father-in-law), giving Mandira a piece of his mind, or turning tables and saying what his son, Eijaz Khan, tells him towards the end, that he should have used his sense of humour to salvage the situation.
Meera is a die-hard cricket buff. She is also a brilliant Maths teacher and a favourite among her students. Her mother and brother are worried about her single status. Meera is not. She bumps into Dr Arjun Awasthi (Eijaz Khan) during one of her visits to a cricket stadium. Sparks fly, she explains her love for the game, he understands. Families meet, everyone agrees and then the incident on the engagement day where Meera informs Dr Arjun that she has to see the match and will make it on time for the engagement.
Mandira gives off a good performance. You can relate to her, thanks to her stint as a cricketing anchor. She also lends an air of believability to her character. Eijaz Khan is a wonderful performer. But as Dr Arjun, his character is too good to be true. I mean, he is just perfect. Good looking, understanding, good family, never gets angry.... It's quite jarring, really his character. But for me it is Mahesh Manjrekar who is the star performer. As a dutiful son who has to take care of his family after his Dad's demise, a responsible father and husband and a caring son and brother, he is the 'ideal team man who keeps the game going'. In cricketing terms, he builds up a good partnership. He is my Man of the Match!