Director: Omung Kumar
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Sunil Thapa, Darshan Kumar
Priyanka Chopra in an as 'Mary Kom'
Mangte Chungneijang Kom, better known as Mary Kom, the gutsy boxer from a remote corner of Manipur, who made her way to the Olympics with merely the power of her passion for the sport, is definitely worthy of a biopic full of reverence. But alas, ironically, debut director Omung Kumar's film on her life is extremely meek and plays irritatingly safe.
This never-say-die girl from a village called Kangathei has everything going against her. Her father is against her choice of sport and her poor family is reeling under financial constraints and yet, in what is easily an awe inspiring tale, she plods on with the help of a local coach and manages to reach heights that no one could have imagined of her. The film, however, does injustice to this gritty story.
Unfortunately for 'Magnificent' Mary and the audience, the director and the writer (Saiwyn Quadras) take the insincere, masala story telling route and end up messing the whole experience. To add to that, non-clever in your face brand endorsements, which included ice cream brands to pregnant detection kits, if you please, made it worse. Lack of hard work and depth on part of the team is revealed many a times, especially in that one scene where Mary Kom writhing in labour pain struggles to get to a hospital during a curfew situation. The research team obviously was so busy thinking up ideas how to keep the audience thrilled, that they didn’t bother to even go near the actual crisis situations dogging this North Eastern state.
One has to admit that there were a few scattered scenes which managed to touch a chord, but they also made one realise what this film could have been, if unpolluted by endorsements and pointless sensationalism.
I give one extra star to Priyanka Chopra. This girl went through magical physical transformation to make herself believable as the boxer. But what strikes more is her heartwarming and sincere portrayal of the character. Watch her quiet determination in spite of her father's opposition, watch her in the ring, watch her helpless as her sport takes a backseat when she reluctantly settles into matrimony and motherhood and you know the actress has put her heart and soul into the role.
Onler (Darshan Kumaar), who plays Mary’s husband, is decent but Sunil Thapa, who plays the pivotal role her of her coach M Narijit Singh, disappoints with his total lack of expressions.
All this film needed was a bit more guts to chart its own path with Mary Kom herself as an inspiration. But sadly, they chose to play to the gallery instead. Mary and Priyanka deserved a better film.