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HARJEETA (Punjabi) - A modest yet questionable attempt of making 'a too' early biopic of a young sportsman of just 20. (An overview by Bobby Sing)
21 May, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / H

This particular project reveals a lot about our present state of mind, blindly following a trend (with the obvious commercial aims), without caring about the need, relevance or timing of a specific genre.
  
Explaining it further, this is about biopics that are logically known to be made after a person has some outstanding achievements to his/her credit in a particular stream or career (gaining experience of many years), setting an example that can strongly inspire the new and coming generations. More specifically biopics are mostly made when the said achiever has retired or may be about to retire performing in the last phase of his professional career of decades (or at least many important years).
 
Deviating from the norm, we recently witnessed biopics (in Hindi) made right in between the ongoing careers of major sports personalities like MARY KOM, DHONI, The Phogat sisters in DANGAL or more. And then there was also a must watch, eye-opener biopic of a wonder-kid too, who became the victim of our corrupt and unconcerned system titled BUDHIA SINGH
 
However surpassing them all, here we have a rare as well as a questionable bio-pic (in Punjabi) made on a young hockey player of just 22 years of age, who was the Junior team's captain winning the World Cup in 2016 and has just started his career as a promising hockey player representing the country. 
 
Putting it bluntly, this is about a young, passionate boy who has just made the beginning and is still to make a name as an important member of Indian (senior) Hockey team proving his gifted caliber,………, but has already got a mainstream biographical film made on his life, raising many valid questions.
 
Anyway, addressing the friends who are simply interested in their entertainment, without caring or forgetting the larger picture or the impact a film can make on the present generations, HARJEETA is an above average project that does have its worth appreciating brighter moments but along the usual drawbacks of a typical biographical sports drama to be honest.
 
Though dealt with care and sensible emotions, the film (yet again) remains more focused on the back stories, childhood, romance, songs and personal affairs of the player instead of the particular sport i.e. hockey. Moreover, despite being the collective game of 11 players, it rarely shows some interest in talking about the journey of other fellow players besides the captain, together representing The Winning Team. Further it has a very awkward moment in the narration too when a player talks with his coach in a highly disrespectful tone bringing in the caste factor, that essentially should have been presented in a much more responsible and mature manner.
 
The story progresses at a slower pace (unlike a sports film) and the makers very cleverly avoid the clear mention of JUNIOR Hockey Team of India throughout the film with the word Junior only displayed in the onscreen captions. Moreover HARJEETA largely misses the adrenaline rush that essentially has to be the feature of every sports film. In other words, one keeps on watching the various selection procedures and crucial matches being played on screen, but never comes on to the edge of his seat becoming a part of the game, feeling the energized on-field excitement. 
 
Further touching a sensitive topic, HARJEETA can also be quoted as yet another film that clearly displays the huge conflict between the way Sikh Religious authorities/establishments keep trying to promote SIKHISM through their various platforms and the manner it conflictingly gets portrayed on the screen in the mainstream Punjabi films. Sharing the theater experience, the moment Ammy appeared in a scene wearing his cap, a kid sitting beside me asked her mother, “You keep stopping me from wearing caps, and here is he wearing a cap and nobody is objecting to it”. 
 
Now I don’t know what answer was given by the mother to her child, but it was indeed a relevant and logical question put up by the intelligent kid deeply influenced by the onscreen Idols/Stars. 
 
Thankfully he didn’t notice the almost shaved beard of Ammy!!!!
 
Coming to the merits, it’s a well performed film, especially by the lead star Ammy Virk and his hardwork shows in his physical transformation deserving praises. The supporting cast makes a major contribution in some specific sequences and they all impress namely the child artist Sameep Singh, a fresh female lead Sawan Rupowali, the veteran Gurpreet Kaur Bhangu and Pankaj Tripathi making a noteworthy debut in Punjabi Cinema (despite struggling with the language and its right accent). The dialogues work well along with the cinematography and the theme song rightly lifts up the spirit as required. However the background score doesn’t add anything novel in the proceedings, a fact that literally affects most of the Punjabi films being made in the present scenario.  
 
In all HARJEETA can certainly be called an above average, emotional, sports based family drama directed by Vijay Kumar Arora. But I am unable to understand the purpose of making a bio-pic of a young sportsman so early in his career……. blindly following a market trend……. lacking a responsible vision.
 
In case the makers have an opinion that the film will inspire the young boys promoting hockey in Punjab and other regions of the country too. Then I would humbly like to convey that a bio pic made just after winning the junior level competition can in turn result in many diverse outcomes too, keeping in mind the still developing thought process and personalities of the young players who have just stepped into their 20s.
 
In reality, no teacher/coach/mentor will ever approve such biopic to be made this early in the career of his brightest protégé ……. as it will mostly work as an ‘over-confidence booster’ for the concerned player and adversely affect the young fellow players too, still learning to become world class professional players competing in their ongoing careers. 
 
Supporting the above statement, would like to inform that Harjeet Singh was the captain of Junior Indian Hockey team winning the World Cup in December 2016. The film was most probably planned right after the win in early 2017, obviously with his consent and cooperation becoming a part of the Indian (senior) hockey team, and then trying his best to perform in the major matches, while the bio-pic was being made on the other side.
 
Coming to the present in April-May 2018 (within just one year), when we checked the official website of Hockey India showcasing the pictures of more than 45 Senior Men Core Probables (at this link, at the time of writing this article), then Harjeet Singh name wasn’t there among them all for reasons not known.
 
Now if this has anything to do with his performance or consistency on the field then the obvious question arises that,
Was the making of a bio-pic (right after the Junior World Cup win) has anything to do with this kind of sudden change in his career within just one year?
 
It seems very possible!
 
But even otherwise, if a biopic gets made on a player, so early in his ongoing career (when he is just 22), then what impact will it make on all the senior players playing along him on the field, who are widely known as the important pillars of the same Indian hockey team?
 
On second thoughts, ‘an early biopic’ can still be made if it’s about an individual alone, about an individual game or an achievement made as a sole performer without the help of anyone else in a small age, as was the case with BUDHIA SINGH. But coming up with a biopic of just the captain of a junior hockey team, when there were 10 more young players equally contributing in the win making their sincere efforts is not really justified. In my humble opinion, a film focusing on the entire Junior Hockey team and their collective journey towards the World Cup Win along their coach would have made much more sense instead of simply focusing on the captain, forgetting the other 10.
 
In short, you can surely watch HARJEETA as a film, get entertained and return back home refusing to think about the probable aftereffects of a bio-pic made of a player at an age of only 22. 
 
But honestly I am unable to do that and would sincerely like to raise logical questions about the vision and purpose behind the film ‘making a hero’ out of a ‘so young’ potential player, who is on the verge of beginning his professional international career and has yet to achieve many probable important milestones in the long road ahead.
 
More so, because I don’t wish such an ‘insanely early’ biopic ever becomes a major hindrance in the progression of a promising Indian player messing with his young mind.
 
On a concluding note, just think what would have been the possible consequences if someone from the Hindi Cinema had made a biopic on Virat Kohli just after winning the under-19 World Cup as the Indian Captain back in the year 2008? 
 
Give it a thought, 
along with wishing the best for the young and promising Harjeet Singh
with
HIS BLESSINGS

Tags : Harjeeta (Punjabi) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Punjabi films reviews by Bobby Sing, Indian movies on Sports, Indian Sports Movies, Indian Movies on Hockey
21 May 2018 / Comments ( 4 )
Lalit

Hard hitting article. You rightly pointed out the damage the film can do , to the cause it is trying to propagate.  Imagine hypothetically that this young boy starts failing miserably now. What message is going out then ?

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for your kind praise Lalit and yes that always remains a strong probability if you try to make a star out of a performer at such an early stage and age. Hope we get to see Harjeet Singh scaling new heights of success in future.

Keep Visiting and Writing in.
Cheers!

Dharmakirthi

That's an excellent review of Harjeeta , and some very pertinent questions on the need for this movie so early in the career of a budding player. I am equally at a loss to guess the objective behind making this movie. By correlating the current state of this player whose name doesn't figure in list of probables of Team India. I admire your attitude to raise important questions on the relevant aspects of the impact of cinema on the society. Keep up the good work , Bobby !

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Dharmakirti for your contant encouragement and support.
Will try to keep it going to the best of my ability with
HIS BLESSINGS

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