Adding to a now increasing list of Hindi sports films, we have Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom, a bio-epic on the life of the legendary pugilist MC Mary Kom of India grace the silver screen this week. The film has been in news ever since its declaration and over the last few months the positive buzz surrounding the film has been a major draw. I was always skeptical about Priyanka Chopra essaying the role of Mary Kom as she looked nothing like her. The eye job was hardly enough to help matters. If we look back at some of the other films this year and especially Bhaag Milkha Bhaag which has become a benchmark for the films of this genre in India, the characters were designed in close proximity with the real life entities. That gives the film the initial head start which Mary Kom was lacking from the word go. Would it turn out to be another damp squid after so much of promise??? That was the question which was lurking in my mind.
The film starts off with the a pregnant Mary Kom(Priyanka Chopra) and her Husband Onler(Darshan Kumar) inching towards a hospital as evidently Mary is experiencing her labor pain. The duo are rescued by the police and within seconds the film zooms back in time and introduces us to a young Mary who finds a boxing glove at a crash site and carries it home. This glove starts shaping her future as she dreams of becoming a boxer. A chance encounter with the legendary boxing coach of the region M. Narjit Singh(Sunil Thapa) sets Mary on the path to national and international success until she decides to marry Onler when landing a knockout punch on her career which is at its peak.
This infuriates her coach but Mary settles into a peaceful marital life and soon gives birth to twins. But the marital and parental woes keep plaguing her as also her own dreams of shedding blood and gut in the ring. A few events seriously bruise her moral further and Kom is raving to go. Onler understands his wife’s predicament and decides to support her to revive her boxing career. However the path now is twice as hard and Mary must overcome the nuisances in the federation as also a disgruntled coach before she could be on her way to success. The rest of the film is about how Mary surmounts all odds and wins over every challenge to achieve the heights of success that she enjoys now.
The film boasts of a simplistic and hearty screenplay which doesn’t have much smartness. The script could have been much better but then it does have enough to keep you interested. I hope the makers had got the facts right as more than a couple of sequences felt like a tad bit overdone to me. The film’s first half shows us the meteoric rise of Kom to success but that happens so quick that the viewer is unable to enjoy the entirety of it. A little more insight into her boxing techniques and exploit would have helped. The second half of the film is breezier and also boasts of some good dramatic set pieces. The second half also makes way for the best boxing sequences but one has to agree that the fights left a lot to be desired. They just do not pump you up in a way that they should have.
Priyanka Chopra essays Mary Kom in her own way. She is her own Mary Kom. The broken and disjointed Hindi is the only thing that they have in common. She plays the character with a lot of heart and Gusto. Whatever she lacks in physicality she makes up for in her screen presence. Her lingo keeps fluctuating between good and bad Hindi which may prove to be a distraction for the ones who notice it. Darshan as Onler is passable. He is the ideal sidekick who doesn’t want to be anything more and is never made to be anything more. Sunil Thapa is perfect as the coach. He oozes confidence in the scenes with PC and his level of comfort is evident in every scene.
The film has good cinematography and passable music but it sorely lacks an Anthem like “Zinda” from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. A film of this genre requires a pulse pounding track which goes down a long way into communicating both the struggle and achievements of the characters. The film is sparsely entertaining and does deserve a watch but it is strictly average. Go into it without expectations and you might just be sweetly surprised but that’s the best it can do. Don’t expect a Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.