Movie Review: ‘Mary Kom’ by Neha Ravindran

Movie: Mary Kom
Director: Omung Kumar
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Sunil Thapa, Darshan Kumar
Genre: Biopic

A young girl from an unknown town in the forgotten eastern part of India, punches her way into the history of boxing, delivering one winning blow after another. 5 times world boxing champion, this petite woman with twinkle in her eyes and an infectious smile, transforms from a small town girl Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom to the world renowned boxer ‘Magnificent Mary’. Nothing makes my day more than a movie with a touch of reality because often faces, names and places in the newspaper crawl to the back of my minds owing to the truckload of information we are bombarded with every day. But a movie encases them in time- still, memorable and revisited.

Omung Kumar brings M.C Kom to screen under the grand Sanjay Leela Bansali banner casting the seasoned actor Priyanka as Mary Kom. A young Mary falls in love with a pair of boxing gloves and stops at nothing to live her dream of becoming a professional boxer, choosing it over even her own father. Passionate, dedicated and aggressive, she trains under Narjit Singh (Sunil Thapa) who tells her “agar focus hila toh tumhara naak toot jayega aur mera naak kat jayega”. She goes on to win at the state levels and the nationals, paving way to her entry to the world championship, which she goes on to win it for three consecutive years. Then she decides to get married to her long time boyfriend, Onler (Darshan Kumar), against the wishes of her coach and soon give birth to twin boys. The second half of the movie revolves around her struggle to make a comeback into the field of boxing after an 8 year long break, where the world has forgotten Mary.

Mary Kom is a life journey of a living legend and Priyanka Chopra has literally stepped into the former’s shoes. Her hard work and dedication in perfecting the role of Mary Kom is reflected in every scene. Be it her accent or the boxing routines, Prinyanka sincerely brings out all her elements, giving Mary Kom her dues. Darshan Kumar in the supporting role of Mary’s supportive (pun intended) husband, is able to hold his ground despite Priyanka dazzling with her screen presence.

Sunil Thapa as her coach manages to catch your attention in the limited screen space he is allowed. Infact the entire supporting cast, from role of Mary’s parents to the nasty Sports federation officials, have done a fantastic job. And a commendable job by the cinematographer will have you gasping, pushing you to plan your next holiday destination. In short, Omung Kumar had all the right ingredients to make this into the biopic of the year.

But if only everything as so hunky dory (and the world had no place for ifs and buts). This is where I introduce you to the (chunky) chinks in the movie. For beginners, after the initial pace, all through the first half, the movie keeps jumping between slow motion and fast forward. It was as if somebody in the projector room was playing with a remote control, pressing random buttons. And then there is our beloved bollywood fictionalisation. Of course, if Mary Kom’s life is filmed just as her life is, it would be boring, so doing a favour to our beloved Mary, the director adds all the masalas he can lay his hand on, as his scriptwriter stirs the wok. But sadly when the dish is served (piping hot just for you) it is either too bland at places or unnecessarily spicy.

A ruined appetite and a burned tongue is what you get at the end. The basic idea of the director was to film Mary Kom’s comeback to the field of boxing and rest of the story is just his idea of beating around the bush while he sets his plans into motion. Oh, you poor idiots sacrificing three hours to watch just one hour of the actual movie. Gotcha!

I had very high expectations from the movie, and watching them fall flat in a domino effect broke my heart a little by the end of the movie. But honestly, forgetting everything you just read; you need just one reason to watch this movie- India’s legend M.C. Mary Kom. If nothing, you will know the struggle a sportsperson lives through to hoist India’s flag on international platforms. So, my request is do watch this movie.

My Verdict: ***
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