Friday, 5 September 2014

Mary Kom :: Movie Review

MARY KOM is a well concocted inspiring flick not only about boxing but also about determination, selfless love of a doting husband and red-tapism, politics prevalent in sports bodies. "Mary Kom" is a motivational masterpiece. From first frame to last it grips your senses and irrigates the parched corridors of your heart like very few biopics in recent times. Admirably the narrative doesn't over-sentimentalise MK's struggle. This is "Mother India" without the glycerine and melodrama. As played by Priyanka, MK is both gritty and giggly, plucky and precocious, a ferocious fighter and a tender mother. Clearly, Mary Kom is not just about delivering punches to bleed the opponents. It is about the odds the iron lady challenges despite proving her mettle twice over to stay in the reckoning, to reinforce her grit and-above all, else-to save herself from the ignominy that one draws upon oneself inadvertently for being a forgotten sporting hero. Generally, movies revolving around sports resort to the formulaic ‘emergence of an underdog’ theme. Mary Kom doesn’t travel the beaten path. Omung Kumar shows how true champs get going even when the going gets extremely tough. He shows his protagonist as a born fighter, but then he escalates the drama to showcase how the fierce fighter converts herself into a perpetual winner by facing the odds that are stacked against her.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                      ::      The story of Mary Kom has been penned down by Saiwyn Quadras who has infused some some bollywood elements in this biopic to make it more of an entertaining drama but still the narrative has a soaring quality and texture. It simply takes off with scarcely any room for breathing space. The breathless quality of storytelling goes well with the protagonist's stormy mercurial nature. A flashback narrative employed at the start of the film soon gives way to linear storytelling, taking away the misplaced sense that the unrest in Kom’s native Manipur will play a significant role in the plot. As MC' story unravels in a flashback we meet a woman who is not affected by gender rules and discrimination that governs our society.  Very early in the tightly clenched narrative, we see MC get into a full-fledged scuffle with a school bully. Later she takes on another far more dangerous bully who threatens to destroy her boxing career. In and out of the arena Mary never stops fighting. As far as the storyline goes, Mary Kom (Priyanka Chopra) is daughter of a rice paddy farmer who wants her to join athletics but she has a undying passion for boxing. Post her opting to box, Mary accidentally lands up at the boxing training academy of her coach Narjit Singh (Sunil Thapa), who, after seeing her persistence, teaches her that 'the world maybe round for everyone, but her world should be the shape of the boxing ring, a Square'! Mary's talent for the sport combined with her coach's training form a deadly unbeatable lethal combo who go on to win international competitions galore. However, things come to standstill when Mary marries Onler Kom, despite her coach's firm opposition, and Mary's subsequent pregnancy, and her delivering twin children, thus bidding adieu to her long cherished game of boxing, something which her coach had always feared for. Resigned to live the life of a commoner finding it difficult to survive with two kids, Mary applies for a job, but the job she gets is that of a 'hawaldaar', something that slaps her from within. Unable to continue with a mundane existence, Mary vows to make a comeback in the ring. Now, after serious losses in the ring, the absence of her coach and the unbending politics of the boxing federation, Mary faces an uphill task. Will she manage to convince her coach to train her again and will she manage to overcome the boxing federation forms the rest of the film

STARCAST                                                                ::                      It is Priyanka’s spirited portrayal of the pugilist that makes it possible to ignore the flaws in craft as it’s hard to point a finger at her performance. Right from the body language of a boxer, to her mercurial temperament, her vulnerability and the fight within her, PC brings alive the living legend. If the real Mary Kom gave her all to be the boxer she wanted to be, Priyanka does no less to become Mary Kom. She may not have transcended the physical attributes of the diminutive Mary in the actual sense but she has brought the boxer to life convincingly enough, leaving you rooting for her, long after the end credits roll. If Mary is the champion inside the boxing ring, Onler is the superstar off it. And Darshan brings just the right amount of sensitivity to the part. It’s a marvel how he underplays himself next to a superstar (PC) just like the real Onler does in Mary’s life. He also seems to have got the diction right unlike his other co-stars, which makes him a natural fit for the role. Full marks go to Sunil Thapa, who shows his emotional, professional and rational sides with equal ease. He is exactly what the highly ranked coaches are made up of. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                               ::                        The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Shashi-Shivam which is on a very average scale which sounds good while the movie is playing & does not have repeat value. But the background score by Rohit Kulkarni aptly makes up for it and lifts the tempo of the movie with its quality. The cinematographer of the movie is Keiko Nakahara who has done a fabulous job with the camera. as the visuals of the movie aptly befit the grandeur of a biopic. Be it the milieu of rural Manipur or the aggression in a boxing ring, cinematographer Keiko Nakahara astutely captures it all. The movie has edited crisply by Sanjay Leela Bhansali who has kept the run-time to 123 minutes which makes it quite short in duration when compared to other biopics that we have seen. The little hiccup is that the movie shuffles between past & present quite a bit in the beginning which is a tad confusing. As a debutant director, Omung Kumar has made a sincere effort and has managed to impress as a director. The best part is that   Kumar’s film does not dwell much on boxing, focusing on the sportsperson rather than the sport itself. The matches are an aside, acting as relief in between events from the boxer’s life.

CONCLUSION                                                                ::                 One aspect that makes Mary Kom worth a watch is that it has its heart and soul at the right place. It might not be as exciting or thrilling as the regular Bollywood masala fares but it still manages to entertain you due to some earnest performances & inspiring storyline. 

Follow me on twitter at