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A Biased Mary Kom Review

If you are someone, who prefers reading a review before watching a movie, then please don’t do so for Priyanka Chopra starrer Mary Kom.

This is not a movie review, but rather a feature/opinion piece on this brilliant attempt by debutant director Omung Kumar. Why I refrain from calling this a review is because reviews should be analytical and factual, not biased. And what our media houses do is marketing. To be honest, I will be very biased when I write about it, and I have every reason to be. One, I am a sports fanatic; second I am from North East. I guess that explains it all.

The best thing about the movie is definitely the optimism it portrays (at least for me). Manipur is a region which in a way is very troubled for quite some time now. From AFSPA to local insurgent problems, the state has seen it all. So when we depict a story of someone from such a region, who beating all odds made a name in their own fields; it becomes very important to highlight the negative factors around him. It becomes important to probably the highlight the negative factors that ultimately helps building up the character of the lead.

The movie could have helped people visualize the audience the struggle of the player by showing problems pertaining to the problems related to the state. It could have focused on the issues that restricted the growth of the state and the highlighted the struggles of the players due to the ongoing problems.

But rather than focusing more on what Mary Kom had to face due to the odds, movie makers decided to focus fairly on what has been achieved and how it has been achieved. This might sound a little confusing, but the difference of the two situations is marked the optimism it beholds. The movie shows insurgents celebrating when a girl from their state makes India proud by winning the World Championship, what more positive message could you expect.

However, this attempt of reflecting optimism is a very daring attempt by the debutant director. In India or rather everywhere, passive audience often emphasize only when you add an element of struggle into it. Filmfare review by Rachit Gupta reads:

The narration of MC Mary Kom's fantastic real life story is so pedantic you sit and wonder why you can't empathize or even sympathize with her character. We're shown that Mary Kom hails from a poor farming family in Manipur but her journey towards getting 5 boxing world championships seems a little too breezy. The best stories break your heart and then give you a means to mend it. The rule is only 10 times more relevant to biopics. But Mary Kom, the film, hurries through its character's travails like a history textbook chapter. It states every fact but never quite creates the requisite emotional attachment. Writer Saiwyn Quadras has a long way to go before writing the quintessential good film.

Now there is a twist to it. The writer was indeed smart. Apart from the fact that what he did reflects more optimism which increases the quotient of Mary Kom being an inspirational movie exponentially, it also helps engage the audience better. The problem which most of us complained about Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was that it was lengthy, which was probably because the script decided to highlight a lot of factors related to Milkha Singh, not just his sporting achievements. But you won’t feel the same. This is a very smart script, because at the end of the movie, you do end up idolizing MC Mary Kom like never before.

What has also been very interesting about the presentation of the movie is that no where did it criticized the sporting authorities and governing bodies of the country, but yet it hits a soft punch into their functioning. Anyone remotely following sports in India knows about the lack of facilities and all the problems which our sports person faces. This movie does not attempt to highlight those issues, but rather counter them with a punch. Without even touching the issue broadly, it slaps the entire sports functioning of the country by just depicting Chai and Kela [Watch the movie to understand it].

The entire text of this post would be irrelevant if Priyanka Chopra’s efforts are not acknowledged. You can clearly make out the amount of home work she has put in for this movie. From being technically and physically sound in the boxing ring to the accuracy of delivering dialogs in the North Eastern accent, Ms. Chopra has done everything to win National Award [yet again]. As a sports fan, you can probably feel the energy once she steps into the ring, and her training will surely energize you up. The intensity of the performance can actually get you Goosebumps. Footwork to punches, she is no short of being a real boxer.

MC Mary Kom, you have definitely been a true inspiration for all of us. Rightly said, only Mary Kom can do what you did and what you achieved. This movie is just a small tribute. Biopic like Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are much needed in the Indian sports industry. We forget out heroes, we fail to acknowledge them. Watching their stories, applauding them and taking inspiration from them is probably the least we can do.    
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  • Monday, September 08, 2014
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