Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Manav Kaul, Eshan Naqvi, Meghna Malik
Director: Amole Gupte
Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)
The eventful life and instances of Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal abounds in intrinsic drama little question. Amole Gupte’s Saina, which brings her thrilling story to the massive display, suffers from a scarcity of consistency. The sports activities biopic floats like a wobbly shuttlecock between making an attempt to get the massive smashes in and choosing a defensive technique geared toward eking out a hard-fought win. That it falls between two stools is not the principal drawback; the ungainly thud with which it does so is.
Saina, written by Gupte himself, begins off within the method of a traditional Bollywood sports activities drama with all of the noise that goes with it. It seeks to attain facile factors by asserting what we already know: that Saina Nehwal’s profession and achievements are a breakthrough for all Indian girls who wish to escape the entice of domesticity.
Halfway via, the movie perceptibly adjustments gears and appears to dig deeper into the psyche of a champion and the hurdles that she should surmount to get forward in her chosen sport. Part of the latter technique, which hinges on Saina’s fruitful however uneven relationship along with her coach, comes off easily and yields drama that is not wholly unconvincing.
The unsubtle characterisation of the mom as a slavedriver – she is the important thing fever in Saina’s youth – pushes the movie in direction of overt, ceaselessly cringeworthy, melodrama. Mercifully, the tiger-mom shrillness doesn’t final past some extent.
Parineeti Chopra, within the guise of the real-life protagonist who sacrifices her childhood in pursuit of a dream, will not be unhealthy in any respect. She is, nonetheless, let down by the tonal patchiness of the movie. Parts of Saina are pure Bollywood – loads of theatricality and bluster. However, the movie in its totality does have moments which can be salvaged by a tilt in direction of psychological realism and an genuine depiction of the game that Saina Nehwal has enriched along with her exploits.
Especially efficient are the skilfully mounted badminton sequences. Just as nicely as a result of these scenes are strung collectively from starting to finish and kind the crux of the movie. Cinematographer Piyush Shah, with the angles and the views that he creates, and editor Deepa Bhatia, with the tempo she imparts to the sporting motion, are in a position create authenticity, a plausible rhythm and infectious pleasure because the on-court duels unfold.
The movie opens within the yr 2018. Saina wins two gold medals on the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. It represents a significant comeback for the one-time World No. 1 who’s now considered the underdog. On her return house, she addresses a roomful of cheering journos.
The sight of reporters breaking into shouts of “Saina! Saina!” doesn’t ring true in any respect. One scribe asks the shuttler who she owes her success to. On cue, the movie goes into flashback mode – that’s the place it stays till the very finish. The first-person account is each hackneyed and wobbly because the heroine takes the media – and the viewers within the theatre – via the highs and lows of her profession, starting with a state-level champion the place she, at age eight, wins 4 titles – singles and doubles in each the under-10 and under-13 classes.
Her mom, Usha Rani Nehwal (Meghna Malik) will get satisfaction of place within the early parts of the movie. Saina credit her dad and mom from Hisar who relocate to Hyderabad when her agriculture scientist-father, Harvir Singh Nehwal (Subhrajyoti Barat), is transferred, with the never-say-die spirit that underlines her sport.
The movie is lifted a number of notches by the arrival of Manav Kaul within the function of a former champion who runs a Hyderabad badminton academy for promising gamers. The guidelines he lays down for his wards are each easy and unyielding – you break one rule and you’re out for good, he warns his wards.
Rajan, the character that Kaul performs with customary ability, is clearly modelled on Pullela Gopichand. Apart from Saina herself, her dad and mom and Parupalli Kashyap (performed by real-life badminton participant and first-time actor Eshan Naqvi), Saina’s “pillar of strength” within the sport and in life, all people else portrayed within the movie receives a fictional makeover.
This contains the previous nationwide coach of India U. Vimal Kumar. In the movie, he’s Jeewan Kumar, the pinnacle of the Bengaluru academy that Saina shifts to after her fallout with Rajan. The function is essayed by Ankur Vikal talking his strains with a heavy Malayali accent.
Saina’s friction with Rajan – one well-written confrontation scene sees each Chopra and Kaul at their finest is blamed on the model endorsement offers that she lands as she emerges as a youth icon second solely to Sachin Tendulkar when it comes to nationwide enchantment. The commercials that she shoots eat into her follow time. Famously against sportsmen turning into ambassadors for chilly drinks and hair oils, the coach doesn’t take kindly to Sania’s aberration. He speaks his thoughts. Saina terminates her stint on the academy.
The rupture between mentor and ward coincides with a profession stoop that’s aggravated by a extreme ankle damage that threatens to finish Saina’s run on the highest stage of the game.
The last quarter of the 135-minute movie is dedicated to the shuttler’s wrestle to regain her footing and claw again to the highest. In the ultimate act, Saina takes on a Spanish opponent named Carla Martinez – she is clearly Spain’s Carolina Marin – in a battle for redemption. It is a climax that does an incredible deal to regular the ship and assist Saina finish on a excessive be aware.
Saina oscillates between the tasteless and uninspiring on one hand and the overly dramatic and gratuitously sanctimonious on the opposite seeking a profitable method. It is on the highest of the sport sometimes however is unable to carry on to the benefit lengthy sufficient for it to make a big distinction to the general contours of the movie.
Parineeti Chopra offers it her finest shot, Manav Kaul lifts offers the movie a fillip when he’s on the display and the badminton motion is staged with aplomb. But, regardless of the pluses, Amole Gupte’s Saina is a mishit.