Critics reviews of Saala Khadoos. The average rating is 2.6 stars, which is at around the ‘Average’ mark.
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Saala Khadoos Review by Indicine
Sudha Kongara, the director, touches upon a lot of issues in dealing with the script. Relationship between a male coach and a female sportsperson, relationship between the more successful boxer and her left in the shadow sister, the dynamics in sports federations and the rampant corruption and bias are all shown. There’s a subtlety in the proceedings but Saala Khadoos deals with a bit too much in terms of story. The loose ends are all tied up by the end but the climax feels a little undercooked. Having said that, Saala Khadoos is still a good entertainer with some good moments and a realistic portrayal of a female sportsperson’s life in India.
Saala Khadoos Review by Bollywood Hungama
First things first. One has to simply give it to the film’s director Sudha Kongara Prasad for bringing out a film that is simply a class apart. While she has already made films in the South (ANDHRA ANDAGADU, DROHI), SAALA KHADOOS marks her directorial debut in Bollywood. In addition to SAALA KHADOOS, she has also directed the Tamil version of the film IRUDHI SUTTRU, which has a different tone and content from the Hindi version. Besides directing the film, Sudha Kongara Prasad is also the writer of SAALA KHADOOS. And she excels superlatively in both the departments. Her stint of being an assistant director to filmmaker Mani Ratnam for nearly seven years seems to have paid rich dividend and it shows in the film in the form of a tight and crisp screenplay. Director Sudha Kongara deserves distinction marks. This one’s straight from the heart. Full marks to her for convincingly depicting a story of an underdog girl and her coach fighting against all the odds as they race towards victory. In addition to this, she has not only highlighted upon the existing (dirty) politics in the sports of boxing, but also the sorry plight of the players who represent India on an international level. While the film’s narrative is fast and doesn’t lag at any place, the sad part is that the film’s dialogues lack the much needed ‘punch’.
Saala Khadoos Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
The film’s main strength lies solely on the strong performances of the lead actors. The usually likeable R Madhavan transforms himself totally into a Khadoos, someone who you never want to be your coach, by the way. The man, who had always been criticised previously for not taking care of his body, has put in extra efforts to commit himself to the role. This is evident in his first scene, where he appears bare bodied. He also conveys a lot of anguish and emotions through his eyes, especially in the last scene. But the film’s real scene stealer is the newcomer, Ritika Singh. The makers must be lauded for casting an actress who is proficient in MMA, and this shows in her performance. If they had cast a popular actress in the role, the film would have totally fallen flat. However, she needs to contain her expressions a bit, as she tends to over-express herself in a few scenes. The duration of the film is quite short (109 minutes), and the plot is quite decent, but….yes, there is a lot of buts!!!
Saala Khadoos Review by Lokesh Dharmani on Masala
The beauty of Saala Khadoos is that it’s building to a finale that you can see from light years: a grand international match with a badass Russian boxer who, we all know, will be biting the dust by the end of it. You see, the writers have done such a fine job that it doesn’t shock the viewers at all.
Saala Khadoos Review by Sushmita Murthy on Deccan Chronicle
Director Sudha Kongara Prasad has cramped too much in a 109 minutes film and in the process, made it a fleeting account as opposed to an arresting story. So while you see the protagonists crying, falling in love or celebrating, you do little more than stop chewing your popcorn for a second.
Review by Shubha Shetty-Saha on Mid-Day India
Real life boxer turned actress Ritika Singh is exceptionally easy in front of the camera and is a delight to watch. Though she does tend to overdo it at times, her energy is infectious and she can be an asset if used well. Sorcar is a good find and is commendable in the little role that she has to play. Madhavan is excellent as a disgruntled failure and he displays raw passion when grunting and swearing from the ringside. But, unfortunately, much of it doesn’t seem to work as the film, scene after scene, falls into a predictable rut and a ho-hum climax doesn’t salvage the matter either. You walk out of the film feeling tad disheartened instead of that triumphant feeling that you expect from a movie belonging to this genre.
Review by Martin D’Souza on Glamsham
Madhavan has beefed up well for his character but Kongara does not give him screen time to explain his ‘khadoos’ state of mind. She just rushes through with him in the first few minutes to establish his character. Moreover, his going after Madhi is not displayed with the passion a coach sees in his ward. It’s more acting, less character. Ritika Singh who plays Madhi, and who is also a professional boxer, does not display that steeliness in mind and body on screen, she is slack in her body language even during her fights. She also runs through her part, without pausing for effect.
Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today
Sudha Kongara’s story and direction is commendable, but the abundance of songs feels tedious and harms the pace of the story. In the first half an hour, for example, there are about three odd songs. Within the boxing ring, Saala Khadoos seems so much like Mary Kom that there’s a distinct sense of deja vu. Kongara tries to keep her story real, but there is an abundance of over-emotional sequences. The camerawork is praiseworthy. Sivakumar Vijayan’s cinematography is well-done, be it in the fish markets of Chennai or the greenery of Dharamshala.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
For one, despite the many promising situations that it rustles up along the way, there is little room in the well-intentioned yet rough-hewn drama for genuine surprises. Moreover, the overly obtrusive background score and the songs that are frequently bunged in to heighten emotion are rather distracting. Saala Khadoos, for all the storm that it seeks to whip up in the ring and outside it, does not string together enough points to be declared an outright winner.
Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India
Saala Khadoos explores the murky world of sexual favors, corruption and favoritism even in a sport like boxing. Director Sudha Kongara manages to build the relationship between the coach and his protégé brilliantly. From the indifference to hostility to the grudging respect and finally love. The emotional highs have been handled very well – the moment Adi finally loses faith in Madi and leaves will break your heart. When Madi is in the boxing ring being destroyed by her opponent, you will feel her pain. That’s quite an achievement given that you know she will triumph in the end. Still, the tension, the rage, the helplessness and finally the triumph on screen strikes a chord. Madhavan delivers a knockout punch as the hard-shelled coach. Casting Ritika Singh (a boxer) could have gone wrong, except that she takes to acting as if she was born for it. Whether she is inside the ring or outside, she doesn’t waver from her character even for a second. Her transformation from a hothead to the broken and subdued girl is noteworthy. It is a beautifully measured movie that reiterates the power of pure storytelling, which is often underplayed because of sensationalism. Apart from the principal actors, each person in the cast delivers a fine performance. Zakir Hussain and Naseer are brilliant as always.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
The actors in the film impress: R Madhavan looks every bit the disgruntled coach and totally takes the cake when it comes to hurtling abuses and stating the obvious in a rude manner – if nothing else, his acting justifies the title of the film Saala Khadoos. Zakir Hussain is a good fit as a lecherous and scheming man calling the shots in the federation. Ritika Singh does not quite floor with her performance, but she does shine in a few sequences, making her debut quite applause worthy.
Review by Sukanya Verma on Rediff
Director Sudha Prasad Kongara’s Hindi film debut, full of shabby loopholes and overdone aggression, neglects the finer details of her leading lady’s challenging milieu to focus on one-dimensional rage. The unceasingly growling tone and inhabitants of Saala Khadoos wear aggression like a badge.
Review by Meena Iyer on The Times Of India
The film had great potential but it plays safe by taking the familiar route of the underdog becoming the champion. You know from the time when Adi picks up a wild child off the street and she over dramatically resists, that he will pursue her to follow his dream. Director Sudha Kongara also deftly weaves in an attraction between the amateur boxer and her khadoos coach, a man almost double her age. Both Adi and Madhi are rebels. But their fights ( especially the ones outside the boxing ring) appear forced and out of sync. But then again, the film keeps you engaged till the proud-India bout in the climax because of the convincing performances. Madhavan is good as the cynical coach who wants nothing more than to earn his stripes. Ritika is raw yet manages a knockout performance. Nasser, Mumtaz and Zakir lend good support.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
The fact that it is about women in a sporting arena– heck, that it is a sports film– should be a thing to celebrate, and you can see that effort has gone into creating authenticity while training-and-fighting-in-the-ring, but ‘Salaa Khadoos’ is far too literally realized to be a really strong film.
Review by Rajeev Masand on IBNLive
Saala Khadoos, written and directed by Sudha Kongara Prasad, fails to rise above the timeworn clichés of the genre, but nevertheless succeeds in creating a credible world and, thanks to affecting performances from its principal players, gives us characters that we can care about.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
For director Sudha Kongara, the quintessential sports movie dilemma would about accurately portraying the game, narrating an inspiring tale, while taking just enough cinematic liberties to paint a dramatic watch. Kongara is conservative with her choices and consequently, the result is stereotypical. A part of the film’s success, being a boxer’s story, relied on the execution of the fight scenes. The use of breathing sounds to intensify the final blows in the ring is a gamble that paid off.
Review by Sonia Chopra on Sify
The film works to an extent due to the dedicated performances. Madhavan, with a beefed-up body, adds heart to his role of a misunderstood coach who only means well. Ritika Singh makes an impressive debut with her uninhibited performance. The supporting cast does exceedingly well.
Saala Khadoos Review by Indiaglitz
Madhavan has put in all his sincerity and hard work in the character and it is quite evident with the way his portrays the angry as well as emotional scenes. Ritika is a non-actor, but can easily be tagged better than most so-called Bollywood actresses when it comes to performance. Zakir Hussain is a wonderful actor and plays his part with utmost perfection. Sudha Kongara Prasad’s filmmaking skills are put to test here and he fails. The predictability quotient of the flick is so high and the sequences start to appear clichéd. The movie tackles the issues of politics, sexual harassment and corruption with a decent approach and the dialogues too are heavy and impactful.
Review by Pallavi Patra on Zeenews
Music, screenplay are both okay – but the narration runs bare at times. So, coming to the conclusion, are you wondering if the khadoos managed to pull a smile in the end? Well, he did and with such a powerful climax! This sports drama will stay with you if you can embrace it for its lead performance. To put it more aptly, the leads definitely pack a punch!
Review by Meeta on Wogma
That the actors cannot do more is to be blamed on superficially written characters. The script too is convenient when hardships suddenly smoothen out and smooth tiding suddenly become tough. Which is alright, because that is how life is. But here, it is rather unbelievable. The romantic arc, the change in heart come across as functional rather than organic to the story. The fire in the dialogue and spunk of the first half dies out in the second half and you are left with nothing but a predictable plot and performances you have gotten used to. The writers wanted to focus on the sport and nothing else, and that shows.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The movie deserves praise for sticking to the sports underdog-movie formula and offering us a decent watch. Madhavan as always is delicious on the screen, despite being given the instructions that he has to be Khadoos (crotchety) all the time. Once you get used to the even louder student (marvelously played by newcomer Ritika Singh), the film sort of grows on you. But the predictability of the story makes its 109 minutes feel like three hours.
Review by Pankhurie Mulasi on Movietalkies
Director Sudha Kongara Prasad spent nearly six years of her life on the movie but today she should be really proud of all her efforts, as the end result is great. The film is realistic yet commercial and she has been able to extract great performances from her actors. However, the predictable story and the background score and songs, are the film’s Achilles’ heels. All in all Saala Khadoos is a well-intentioned film, which has its heart in place.
Average critic ratings of other movies released in 2015 – 2016
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- Airlift – 3.7 stars
- Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3 – 1 stars
- Wazir – 2.5 stars
- Dilwale – 2.5 stars
- Bajirao Mastani – 3.2 stars
- Hate Story 3 – 1.7 stars
- Tamasha – 3 stars
- Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – 2.7 stars
- Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 – 2.6 stars
- Jazbaa – 2.6 stars
- Singh Is Bling – 2.3 stars
- Shaandaar – 2.2 stars
- Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon – 2.17 stars