'Saala Khadoos'
U/A; Sports drama
Director: Sudha Kongara
Cast: R Madhavan, Ritika Singh
Ratings: 3 stars

R. Madhavan is a foul-mouthed, disgraced coach Adi (a la SRK's character in the much appreciated film 'Chak De! India'), who is transferred to Chennai following a false sexual harassment case. Laxmi (Mumtaz Sorcar) is the star boxer in Chennai but Adi thinks her fiery sister Madi (Ritika Singh) is a far better candidate. Adi wants to revive his failed ambitions through Madi. Honing Madi's talent proves to be a task as she is as difficult as the coach himself and they begin by hating each other's guts.

The premise is perfect, the settings are realistic and believable (fantastic cinematography by Sivakumar Vijayan), the performances are good but what works against this film is the drab, predictable story and screenplay and, of course, the execution falling woefully short of the amount of passion that a sports movie demands. The passion is further diluted as an absolutely unnecessary romantic track is introduced into the story. As if subtly sending a message that it all boils down to a woman's ultimate aim to win the affection of the object of her desire.

Real life boxer turned actress Ritika Singh is exceptionally easy in front of the camera and is a delight to watch. Though she does tend to overdo it at times, her energy is infectious and she can be an asset if used well. Sorcar is a good find and is commendable in the little role that she has to play. Madhavan is excellent as a disgruntled failure and he displays raw passion when grunting and swearing from the ringside.

But, unfortunately, much of it doesn't seem to work as the film, scene after scene, falls into a predictable rut and a ho-hum climax doesn't salvage the matter either. You walk out of the film feeling tad disheartened instead of that triumphant feeling that you expect from a movie belonging to this genre.

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