Itís simple logic thrown to the winds. You canít put your creative energies in a sports movie, get your actors to do some grueling drills to fit the part and when it comes to the crux, think the audience is a fool. What were you thinking of Mr Vivek Agnihotri?
The League Championship is entering its final stage and Southall Football Club is in a strong position to win the three million-pound prize money, which will see them through the lease of their ground for the next 30 years. Those who want the ground, use unfair means by dangling a carrot in front of their star player, Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham), whose presence in the team can make a difference between a win and a loss.
Sunny goes for the carrot. Thereís a much bigger pay packet, a mansion to live in a sports car and other perks offered to professional footballers which he can never imagine to make playing for Southall. This transfer takes place two games before the league comes to an end with Southall second on the points-table tally. A win in the penultimate game will suffice to take Southall to the Trophy while a loss means a must-win situation in the final league game. The penultimate game is lost and it all boils down to the final. Sunny settles in a pub to watch the game and his dadís friend recognizes him.
Well, to cut the long story short, his dadís friend tells him how the Senior Bhasin was a huge Southall fan and how in 1985, a day before the Championship Final he came between the white man trying to beat Tony Singh (Boman Irani) the then star of Southall Football Club, and now their coach. Sunny wants to now play the match; he rushes to the stadium while the National Anthems are on, and links shoulder with Shaan (Arshad Warsi) the skipper.
My question is this? Did Southall go with 10 men to the ground for the final hoping Sunny would return? Even if itís a yes, itís not done. Secondly, and more importantly, Sunny is no more a Southall team member; so how is he allowed to play? My guess is, there is no governing body for this particular league being enacted on screen. Bad move Vivek. If you are making a movie on soccer, first understand the game. This move is a huge irritant in the entire movie. The apt expression of a viewer would be that of a striker who has just missed an easy goalÖ shiiiitttttt! Itís also like scoring a self goal!!!
Otherwise, the movie entertains in bits. Itís about Asians living in Britain and how they are subjected to racial abuse within the clubs they play. The photography is good and there have been pains taken to shoot some good on-field action shots.
John Abrahamís stock will rise after this flick. His cool dude Brit approach to life is superb, so are his on-field histrionics. With Bipasha Basu he forms a potent pair. Thankfully, Bipashaís role as that of the physiotherapist is not over the top. Its very subtle, so is their romance. Boman Irani, as the defeated player who ignites his passion for soccer yet again in the form of the coach is brilliant. Well, he is Boman and no role is far-fetched for this talented actor. Arshad Warsi as the skipper who wants to save the club is just about Ok. Thereís no fire in his performance.
Actually, itís all about Johnny Gaddar! Johnís betrayal of the team and his heroics!!
If you are willing to forgive the obvious error, go ahead. If not, troop in for CHAK DE INDIA, if you have not seen the film yet. Better still get a DVD of the 1986 England-Argentina quarter-final match. Thereís the Hand of God goal, Diego Maradona, Peter Shilton and the colourful Mexican crowd.