the director- Srijit Mukherjee
painter- Taapsee Pannu, Vijay Raj, Inayat Verma, Brijendra Kala
“You see this field, aren’t all the pains here small, just playing is big… play.” Coach Sampath (Vijay Raj) talks to Mithali Raj (Taapsee Pannu) sitting next to him before the match to be played for the national team elections. Due to some reasons in personal life, Mithali falls apart on the pitch and makes it rain fours and sixes. Biopics are often seen to focus more on the individual’s personal struggles, his ups and downs and victories, but here the struggle is with the cricketing circumstances and mindset. The Women in Blue battle is on for the identity of the Women in Blue in the world of gentlemen’s games.
[INTERVIEW: शाबाश मिथु, बॉक्स ऑफिस और फिल्मों में संघर्ष पर तापसी पन्नू]
Shabaash Mithu traces Mithali Raj’s journey from childhood to leading India to the final of the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017. Taapsee Pannu said in her interview that it is not a cricket film but the story of a girl who plays cricket. Watching the film, he seems to be right. You might not get to experience the thrill of a cricket match here, but the fight of a strong-willed girl will be seen.
It started in 1990 when Mithali befriended Noori in a Bharatanatyam class. It is Nuri who first tests, recognizes and encourages Mitali’s talent. One day both the girls are noticed by the cricket coach Sir Sampath and they let both of them train under him. While Mithali studies in an open house, Noori continues to practice cricket by staying at home for 7 years. Time passes and the day comes for me to be selected for the national team. The coach has full confidence in the talent of both girls. But at the last moment, Noori gets married and Mithali makes it to the Indian women’s cricket team. From here begins his different journey. Despite the good performance, the women’s team has to constantly face the non-cooperation of the cricket board and the neglect of the public. But Mithali is fighting… for equality. She is fighting to get the same respect for the women’s team in a gentleman’s world. She answers everyone by scoring century after century with her bat and there comes a time when brilliant leadership takes India to the World Cup final.
Taapsee Pannu does her best to embody the character of Mithali Raj on an emotional level. She does not imitate Mitali but tries to show her feelings in her own way which Mitali must have felt at that point in her life. The special thing is that Taapsee looks comfortable with the bat. But as much as Taapsee should be praised, so will child artist Inayat Verma, who played Mithali’s child character. Kasturi Jagnam looks her best as Mithali’s friend Noori. Vijay Raj leaves a place in his heart as Mithali Sampath’s coach.
Many biopics have been made on sportspersons in Bollywood. Somehow everyone’s story seems the same in one way or another. So what can director Sreejith Mukherjee do to make ‘Shabaash Mithu’ special? He kept the approach of the film such that the story doesn’t rest on a single match or climax, but is a journey that really needs to be seen. But Srijit Mukherjee has failed to make this 2 hours and 40 minutes long story exciting enough. The story moves so slowly that the characters lack enthusiasm. At the same time, the monologue given by Mithali in the climax is reminiscent of Chak De India.
The music from the movie is distracting. The songs are average and work to increase the duration of the film. Sirsa Ray’s cinematography is good. Taapsee Pannu’s choreography is done very well, especially with the bat. A. Sreekar Prasad might have tied the film up a bit in the editing, but he was not successful here. If seen, the strongest aspect of the film is its actors.
what is good and what is bad
The film with a duration of about 2 hours and 40 minutes has an interesting beginning. The relationship between Mitu and his friend Nuri is beautiful and captivating. At the same time, it is good to see his passion for cricket and his training with coach Sampath. But after the interval, the pace of the film starts to distract you. This is why a well-made Mitu lags behind in creating adventures. Be it a cricket match or any event in Mithali’s life.
This story based on Mithali Raj’s life tells you to have the courage to do something different and be filled with confidence due to the power of your talent. If you have courage and self-confidence, even the toughest battles can be fought. Still, some work could have been done to make the content of the film a bit more exciting. 3 stars for ‘Shabash Mithu’ starring Taapsee Pannu from Filmbeat.
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summary in English
Taapsee Pannu-starrer Mithali Raj biopic Shabaash Mithu is right in its intent but fails to engage everywhere due to its long running time.
Story first published: Friday, July 15, 2022, 2:31 am [IST]
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