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MAIDAAN - Heavily relying upon its impressive final hour, it enlightens the viewers about the golden years of Indian footfall, but wish it had a stronger emotional quotient and better music from Rahman. (Movie Notes by Bobby Sing)

13 Apr, 2024 | Just In / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / M / Movie Reviews / 2024 Releases

Responsibly made biopics, staying away from forced exaggerations or distortion of facts, often become the first source of information for the younger generation and many times for the elders, too. MAIDAAN successfully serves that purpose by enlightening viewers about the lesser-known golden decade of Indian football just a few years after India's independence and the scary partition. Frankly, I just had the information about the wins but was unaware of the details related to the talented and confident coach daringly fighting for the team. 
So MAIDAAN scores in that regard, reintroducing an inspiring tale of struggle, the win, and the journey of a dedicated coach as an important cinematic document of our history also involving political clashes during the tournament.
Second, it scores with a much better second half and an engaging final 45 minutes despite being predictable - the typical feature of a sports movie. Its first half has dragging and repetitive moments with nothing fresh as such, but the second makes you forget the snag, keeping you thoroughly engrossed in the proceedings. 
Director Amit Sharma takes a giant leap from BADHAI HO and showcases his talent in an unrelated and challenging genre of a period sports drama. However, as the film is majorly a biopic of the coach, he keeps his primary focus on Ajay Devgun, which makes you feel as if the players have been ignored or not given the deserving attention. The same is also the reason behind the lack of emotional connection in the proceedings, which only appears on the screen towards the end.
A Sports film works when it captures the sport perfectly, as seen in the live coverage of the matches. MAIDAAN presents its well-shot football sequences in a highly realistic & impressive manner, and for that, both the camerawork and VFX departments deserve equal praise.
Besides, there is one novelty in its finale win that differentiates it from many similar movies witnessed earlier. In MAIDAAN, you do not see the coach shouting, jumping, and loudly calling his players standing outside the field in a tension-filled match. Here, Ajay enacts those typical moments in an unexpectedly restrained manner both in the initial matches and the final when he is also dealing with the deadly cough restricting his regular breathing. Continuing with the fresh approach, the director also showcases the grand win in the same calm manner as rarely witnessed in a sports movie.
Ajay delivers one of his finest performances as the confident and suffering coach who does not care about his life, focusing on his team, the game, and the nation’s pride. The credit goes to the director as he visualises the character distinctively, moving ahead of the routine. The supporting cast equally contributes, and it certainly helps when one is not familiar with the young faces playing the members of Team India. While Priyamani is decent in her short role, Gajraj Rao kills it as the opposing journalist. Though his role seems unnecessarily exaggerated, Gajraj makes you hate him like hell, and that is where an actor wins, playing an evil character on screen.
Done with the praises, MAIDAAN has some severe shortcomings, which restrict it from being quoted as a great film.
Apart from the sluggish first half, no proper attention given to the players, the lack of emotional quotient, and a tiring length, the writing never explains the reason behind the ugly hate expressed for the coach by the selectors and a senior journalist. Here, I felt the makers shying away from stating it clearly, avoiding the mention of religion and playing it safe in the present scenario. 
But above all, the biggest downer of MAIDAAN is its soundtrack by A R Rahman. A brilliant, uplifting theme song or anthem, along with an inspiring background score, would have added a lot of spirit to the film, enhancing it several times. But Rahman, yet again, comes up with a soundtrack that doesn’t add anything to the film’s overall impact. I wonder how he finds his score satisfying enough as a gifted creator, or is it the case that the directors cannot say NO to his offered compositions, accepting anything he comes up for a song? Whatever the case, we miss the Rahman of the 90s and early 2000s and know that he is undoubtedly capable of delivering a much superior soundtrack than this.
Overall, MAIDAAN is certainly an informative, well-intentioned, and well-attempted film with all worth appreciating performances recalling the past. That said, the film has a lot of ‘seen before’ scenes in the first half and heavily relies upon its final hour, which thankfully lifts the narrative, saving it from being just an average venture.
Moreover, when you go for it in the theatres, remember one thing that should ideally give you a lot to think about as a proud Indian.
At present, after almost eight decades of our independence, when minorities are being reminded that they are a minority in the country like never before, just notice that MAIDAAN talks about the 1950s. These were the initial years when we had just started building the nation after the bloody partition creating Pakistan. And in those testing times, the exceptional coach who made India proudly shine in front of the world as a talented football team was SAYED ABDUL RAHIM.
Just give it a thought.

Rating : 3 / 5 

Tags : MAIDAAN Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi films review by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, The golden era of Indian footbaal
13 Apr 2024 / Comment ( 0 )
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