Sport related movie are always ones that Indian audiences look forward to. We thoroughly enjoyed watching Shah Rukh Khan play hockey coach to a team of girls who collectively helped the movie score hits at the box office. Previously, Lagaan‘s story of a villager who takes on the British to forgive taxes, also managed to score six-after-six at award functions and was declared super hit of the year. Soon after, Iqbal graced the screens with its fabulous cricket based screenplay about a mute boy making it big on the cricket pitch While Goal didn’t achieve any of the goals it had set, John Abraham helped the movie create a few waves as he pranced around the field in shorts. 2009 too has bought with it a new sport flick: Victory, starring Harman Baweja and Amrita Rao. Cricket, the sport in question, is not only being the most popular sport in India but in fact considered a religion to the country. So, does “V” finally spell Victory for Harman or will it be out for a duck?
The movie opens with small town boy Vijay Shekhawat (Harman Baweja) at the cricket crease attempting to impress selectors. He is supported by friend and love interest Nandini (Amrita Rao) and father (Anupam Kher). Fighting his way to live his fathers dream and make it big on the cricket pitch, Vijay finally becomes team India’s best player creating waves. However, when success does hit this Jaisalmer born and bred boy, he is overcome with pride and greed. He follows the path to his self destruction as a cricketer and son. Living in the glitz and spotlight of being a famous sportsman, he loses his concentration on his cricket career, scores many duds at the crease and is booted off the team. His father suffers a stroke and Vijay realizes his downfall has destroyed his confidence and at any cost decides to head back to “good boy town.” He then redeems himself as he plays his final match against Australia and has to bring the country home to; yes you got it, “Victory.”
While cricket is the most loved sport in India, debutant director Ajitpal Mangal has gotten it wrong in many places. The script is ultimately weak and filled with loose ends. Undoubtedly, there are some scenes that are exciting including the climax which keep you on your feet. However, the rest of the movie is quite literally moody ranging from the exciting to the ultra boring. Mangal doesn’t manage to keep the audience engaged with the sights, scripts or performances even. A lot of the time, you just are not convinced that a boy goes from being a no one to a superstar at such speed. In reality, this would never happen. The music is average as is the choreography.
In terms of performances, Harman Baweja has to be given some credit for trying his best at attempting to be a cricketer and there is definitely some improvement from his debut debacle Love Story 2050. However, he does tend to go overboard with his dialogue delivery and expressions. Amrita Rao is apt as usual but has nothing to really do besides hanging around being a cheerleader. Anupam Kher is fabulous as the emotional father who wants his son to excel and be successful. Bad man Gulshan Grover is average.
The difference between former sport movies and this one is that the characters in the previous all understood that such “sport-dom” was meant to be taken with humility. Victory discusses how a boy rises from rags to riches, sees green, enjoys it only to realize that it isn’t worth it and yet remains a hero. The movie has been made to look as realistic as possible by using real international cricketers including India’s Harbhajan Singh and Australia’s Brett Lee. However, yet it lacks spice and masala that a cricket frenzy country’s audience would actually sit and get excited about.
Overall, Victory is an average movie that falls short of expectations and interesting angles. Unfortunately, no “Victory” here. This one is a rain out.