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Home > Movies > Reviews

Actual World Cup nahi toh Kya, Salaam India Cup toh Jeet gaye

Patcy N | March 30, 2007 17:50 IST

Still from Say Salaam India

Sometimes, it's best to walk into a movie hall with no expectations. And that is exactly what I recommend if the thought of watching Say Salaam India crosses your mind at some point soon.

The film is about four boys from Tejpur Adarsh Vidyalaya who � like most people in this country -- love cricket. The school, however, insists on promoting wrestling under the able guidance of Surinder Huda (Manoj Pahwa). Our four heroes bunk school to tryout for an under-16 match, but are denied a place on the team thanks to a dishonest committee. The dejected lads are forced to turn back to wrestling.

On the other hand is the well-to-do Royal Heritage School, where the coach is leaving for the UK. Principal Goswami (Sachin Khedekar) decides to take on Hari Sadu (Sanjay Suri) as a replacement. This turns out to be a bad idea, as the students actually assumed the post would go to Harry Oberoi (Milind Soman). Students and parents pressurise the principal, and staid Sadu is promptly replaced by the flashy Oberoi.

Now, Sadu, predictably, wants to build a new team. More predictably, he turns up at Tejpur Adarsh Vidyalaya where he obtains permission but no financial support. With just 15 days to go before an inter-school tournament, Sadu gets into rigorous training mode � in stark contrast to the theoretical approach via laptops being used by Oberoi at Royal Heritage School. The latter also hires two boys from another school, and bribes the umpire for good measure.

The match that follows is reminiscent of Lagaan, so expect some bodyline bowling. One player is injured, but returns when his team needs him. Sigh.

To be fair though, the movie is entertaining overall. A good effort from debutant writer-director Subash Kapoor, it is gripping and manages to stay afloat simply because it is served without the usual hype. Sanjay Suri as a mad cricket lover and Milind Soman as a techno-savvy player are both commendable. Sandhya Mridul, playing Suri's wife, has a small but decent role. And yes, Manoj as the wrestling instructor will bring a few smiles to your face.

As for the music, it is really, really bad. The timing of the film's release couldn't be worse either, considering India's disgraceful exit from the World Cup. Still, at least someone here wins a cup.

Rediff Rating:

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