The timing of this film is just not right. If the makers had the ongoing World Cup cricket in mind and a tagline that reads, “Lets bring the Cup home”, I wonder where they went wrong in the working of the release date. Obviously, the start date of cricket’s premier tournament, being currently held in the Caribbean, was no secret. If it had to release couple of weeks before the start of the tournament, this film’s fortunes would have been a different story, at least where collection figures are concerned.
But all’s not lost. Cricket is the winner, at least in this movie by debutant director Subhash Kapoor. And disappointed fans would want to watch this flick for that feel-good factor of seeing performers with determination in their eyes and fire in their belly, which was sadly missing in the Indian team that were sent packing even before the tournament started. Bangladesh proved to the Indians what the boys from a school, majoring in Khusti, did to the nose-in-the air, over-confident lads of a well-to-do school with parents with famous last names. Singhanias, Birlas, and what have you…
It’s a subject close to the heart of millions in this cricket-crazy nation but the way Kapoor has treated it deserves kudos. It gives you the same feeling when you saw ROCKY, the Sylvester Stallone starrer for the first time. The now famous track Eye Of The Tiger added to the fortunes of the film and set the mood of the fights. Here too, there is intelligent use of good music to build up the tempo and get you in the groove just when things are heating up. All of this adds to the tension of the moment and before you know it, you are left chewing your nails.
And when there is just one ball left and a boundary to be hit, your mind races back to that famous One-day tie in Sharjah where Javed Miandad whacked a befuddled Chetan Sharma over the mid-wicket boundary for a six. But here the story is different. Needing five to win of the last over and with the tail-ender on strike, tension reaches fever pitch when four dot balls are bowled. The batsmen have decided that they will scramble for a single on the fifth ball to give the strike to the skipper of the team. The rival team urge their bowler to send in a bouncer. The ball is bowled, the batsman misses, and so does the wicket-keeper. Ball races to the boundary and the underdogs have won. Kapil’s devils that played merry hell in England in 1983 have been revisited.
Had this movie been shown to the Indian team at a private screening before they set foot in the West Indies to take on Bangladesh, I dare say, the story would have been quite different. The movie evokes in you the fighting spirit and the awe of playing on the biggest stage of them all. But sadly, most of our current cricketers have been playing there for a minimum of 10 years. So it's like ghar ki murgi dal barabar! Either ways, I suggest that coach Greg Chappell take his boys out to the multiplex for a training session of a different kind.
Here he will find a very dedicated coach in Sanjay Suri, who has carved in an excellent performance, taking one back to the time of MY BROTHER NIKHIL. Chappell will also find a bunch of youngsters from a small town whose only aim is to play cricket and play it to the best of their ability.
As for you, my dear readers, don't miss this movie. I assure you; you will come back rooting for the underdogs. You see, that's what happened in 1983. Our boys are still trying to get the 'Cup back home'!