An year before, on this day, a movie by name “irudhi suttru” (tamil) and its hindi make “saala khadoos” were released.. It is in the genre of “Chak De India” or “Bhag Milkha Bhag” or “Dangal” or “Mary Kom”. The difference with this movie is that this made an actress out of a sports person while all others approached the other way round.
In all these kind of movies where the stars like Aamir khan, Farhan akthar, Priyanka, sharookh khan acted, the way they sculpted their physique or they acquired those sporting skills is admirable. They were all much talked about and appreciated in various media/fora.
But this one—Saala Khadoos had a big difference but probably not well acknowledged. It made a professional kick boxer- Ritika Singh to display the acting skills… and what a performance it was!!!! It was no wonder that she bagged the national award for that performance.. but I felt she deserved far far far more , for that sterling performance.
The movie is about bringing a champion boxer out of a rustic/ loud mouthed slum dwelling girl who sell fish.. Madhavan as a coach gave a very poignant performance with perfection to the core.
Acting has to be probably in genes.. It is very difficult to make an actor out of a new comer .. that too coming from a sports background. Ritika’s role is a complex one with varying shades.. she had to show emotions that are rustic, headstrong, bluntly honest.. Those emotions need to transform into girlish behavior (who falls in love), kiddish innocence when being goaded by her coach, isolation when deserted and resilience to fight that final bout to make her coach’s dreams come true. There is not a single frame where we can see Ritika in this movie… It is all the way “Madhi” the girl whom she personifies. Surprised to see a person who hails from other profession excelling in another.. with such finesse.
Credit should go to the Director- Sudha Kongara to cast such a star in this movie.. no one else could have done it better than Ritika.. The relation between coach and boxer goes though rainbow emotions. The last frame where Ritika clings on to Madhavan after winning the bout and both cry in silence epitomizes their relation.. When he taps her head with hand and mumbles in her ears “My Mohammad ali..”, it completes their relation well defined..
The other departments like photography, background score (especially for the final fight), songs and performances from Naasser and zakir added value to the final product but it was one person – ritika for whom we can watch the movie again and again.
The movie surely missed the recognition which it was due to get.. A tribute to a great movie.. well made.. which lingers even after you finish watching the movie..