It's Chak De! in a kickboxing ring. Using the age old Indo-Pak clash as a backdrop, this tells the story of Dhirendra (Singh) an aspiring national level kickboxer who meets an untimely end at the hands of a rogue Pakistani player.
Dir: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan
Cast: Farooque Shaikh, Sushant Singh, Mukesh Rishi, Anaahad, Shraddha Nigam, Nafisa Ali, Kelly Dorje
What's it about: It's Chak De! in a kickboxing ring. Using the age old Indo-Pak clash as a backdrop, this tells the story of Dhirendra (Singh) an aspiring national level kickboxer who meets an untimely end at the hands of a rogue Pakistani player.
And it isn't just his brother Virendra (Anaahad) baying for blood but the entire country as well. Peace talks take a backseat as coachesu00a0from both sides meet in Lahore for a final goodwill match.
Jingoism takes front seat as the doves of peace are nowhere to be seen.
What's hot: Farooque Shaikh is first rate as the coach who fights the corrupt ministers to keep the spirit of his team alive. He not only has a terrific sense of humour but also lights up the screen with his natural charm.
His Hyderabadi dialect might not be on point, but it doesn't matter, because Shaikh saves every badly lit frame from fading into darkness with his wit and timing.
The fight scenes between Anaahad and Mukesh Rishi are well choreographed. Camera work is brilliant, while the background score deserves a special nod.
Using a blend of Gregorian chants and new-age music, the tempo is never lost. Dialogue is sharp and edgy (Shaikh saying how the two nations have played everything but sports when they've met).u00a0
What's not: Despite the fresh approach to a clichu00e9d subject, the film lacks the vigour and energy it needs. Virendra's sudden change of heart to avenge his brother's death translating into him becoming an expert kickboxer is hard to believe.
The film could have been edited better. The fight sequences in the first half between Sushant Singh and his opponents look weak and badly rehearsed.
While Anaahad has the physique to pass off as a kickboxer, the same can't be said about Singh. Shraddha Nigam and Nafisa Ali are reduced to being the grieving women of the house. The romantic track between Anaahad and his Pakistani girlfriend has no standing in the film.
What to do: Lahore should be watched for Farooque's terrific performance and some engaging kickboxing fights in the climax.