SAALA KHADOOS is an euphoric and electrifying film with amazing performances from the lead cast. It is definitely engaging, and inspiring. It truly deserves an ovation and is worth your time and money. SAALA KHADOOS delivers a solid punch. Winner!
Saala Khadoos fails to produce a spirit that stirs and soars in equal measure, feels Sukanya Verma. R Madhavan has a flair for playing unlikeable characters well. He achieves that here too. But his irritation struggles for better articulation and argument in a script that takes virulence and vigour to be the same. Between its many, many confused, underdeveloped, raucous ideas, hides the film Saala Khadoos set out to be. Too bad it never made it to the screen.
The film had great potential but it plays safe by taking the familiar route of the underdog becoming the champion. You know from the time when Adi picks up a wild child off the street and she over dramatically resists, that he will pursue her to follow his dream. Director Sudha Kongara also deftly weaves in an attraction between the amateur boxer and her khadoos coach, a man almost double her age.
From frame one, ‘Saala Khadoos’ seals the possibility of surprises. Everything is by-the-numbers, and you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen next. That’s what stops the film from rising above the ordinary, despite the fresh faces of the two girls who have leading parts, as well as the more experienced, bulked-up turn from R Madhavan.
Despite being packed with all the classic ingredients of a sports drama, Saala Khadoos can only manage to be sporadically watchable. Saala Khadoos, for all the storm that it seeks to whip up in the ring and outside it, does not string together enough points to be declared an outright winner. It has enough heart. It’s the heat that is missing.
Saala Khadoos could have been a far better film if it had better conviction. There are some strong dialogues commenting on the involvement of politics, sexual harassment and corruption, but these get lost in an emotionally overburdened narrative. The only saving grace is the actors.
Saala Khadoos sticks to familiar ground as far as a sports film goes, although the climatic bout is genuinely thrilling. Amidst all the faux sentimentality, we still get a protagonist that we can’t help rooting for. That is the film’s real success.