Shabaash Mithu Rating 3.0/5 & Rating
SHABAASH MITHU is the story of a legendary athlete. The year is 1990. In Hyderabad, a schoolgirl named Noorie (Kasturi Jagnam) is forcibly enrolled in a Bharatnatyam class. That’s because she plays cricket all day and her mother worries she’s becoming too boyish. In dance class, she becomes friends with Mithali Raj (Inayat Verma). Noorie starts playing cricket with her. She advises Mithali to use her Bharatnatyam dance techniques to get better at the game. The trick works and Mithali’s cricket skill improves. One day coach Sampath (Vijay Raaz) spots her and advises her parents to enroll her in cricket coaching. The coaching helps Mithali even more. Aged 15, Mithali Raj (Taapsee Pannu) will be selected at national level. She transfers to the sports facility of the Women’s Cricket Board (WCB) where she meets the national team. WCB boss Shanta (Geeta Agarwal) is sympathetic and even motivating towards Mithali. However, the rest of the players bully Mithali. How Mithali wins her over with her attitude and cricket talent and how they then all fight not only on the pitch but even the prejudice against women’s cricket off the pitch, makes up the rest of the film.
Ajit Andhare’s story idea is intriguing. Priya Aven’s story is inspirational. Also, many will not be aware of the struggles Mithali Raj faces and that adds to the impact. Priya Aven’s script is effective. The author has peppered the film with some very nice dramatic and entertaining moments that keep the interest alive. However, some scenes are too lengthy and could have been written more compactly. Priya Aven’s dialogues are decent, but those voiced by young Noorie would certainly generate lots of laughs.
Srijit Mukherji’s direction is fair. He manages to captivate the audience with the incredible journey of Mithali Raj. The script had some great scenes and moments and Srijit managed to make them look better with this execution. Comparisons are of course made to the last film, ’83 , which was also a cricket biopic. But the Ranveer Singh starer focused more on the events on the ground. SHABAASH MITHU is notable for mainly highlighting the adventures in the lives of Mithali and her colleagues off the field. However, what falls short of 1983 is that the Kabir Khan director recreated the games and increased the authenticity. In SHABAASH MITHU, footage from the real matches was used in the finale and Taapsee was masked instead of Mithali. Also, this whole sequence is shown very hastily. These two factors take away some effects. The pace of the film is slow and this 162 minute film could have been shorter. Finally, the film lacks a few gossip-worthy scenes, which is a must in sports movies like this.
SHABAASH MITHU begins the song ‘Fateh’ aAnd it’s not well executed. The childhood parts of Mithali and Noorie are very entertaining and unlike any other childhood sequence in any movie. Mithali’s interactions with Sampath also add to the fun. Mithali’s scenes of bullying and teaching an opposing player a lesson are compelling, but the more memorable part is the airport break. The second half begins with a poignant scene of Mithali having a heart-to-heart conversation with her team players. Mithali beating the CAI boss (Brijendra Kala) is pretty good. The film falls off a bit here, but picks up speed again when Mithali meets Subodh (Tahir Anand) for the wedding. Another interesting sequence is when Mithali and his friends meet Neelu Paswan (Sampa Mandal) and her future husband at their wedding. The game sequences are okay, but the film ends on a heroic note.
Shabaash Mithu | Official Trailer | Taapsee-Pannu | Srijit Mukherjee
Taapsee Pannu puts a lot of hard work into it and it shows. You expect a lot from her acting and she won’t be disappointed. However, she is reticent in a few places, possibly because Mithali is not overtly expressive in real life. A slightly better act would have worked more in these scenes though. Vijay Raaz is reliable as always. Kasturi Jagnam is quite entertaining as a young Noorie. Inayat Verma is sweet and doing very well. Brijendra Kala and Ramsingh Falkoti (Peon Bala) are decent in the crucial sequence. Sampa Mandal is the most memorable of all team players. Mumtaz Sorcar (Jhorna Ghosh) is next thanks to her performance and bowling style, followed by Shilpi Marwaha (Sukumari Marwah). Darwesh Sayyed (young Mithun) does well as a tyrannical brother. Sameer Dharmadhikari (Mithali’s father, Dorai Raj), Jyoti Subhash (Mithali’s grandfather), and Nishant Pradhan (Mithun Raj) don’t get much leeway. The same goes for Anushree Kushwaha (Noorie). Geeta Agarwal and Tahir Anand leave their mark. Ayaz Meon is passable in a cameo. The actors playing the other team members are good.
Amit Trivedi’s music does not seduce. The two versions of ‘Hindustan Meri Jaan’ are not adrenaline pumped. ‘Agaaz Hai Tu’ and ‘Woh Galiyaan’ are meanwhile forgotten ‘Udd Gayi Re Muniya’ is the best song of the crowd. ‘Fateh’ (by Salvage Audio Collective) is foot tapping but wasn’t portrayed well. Salvage Audio Collective’s background music is pretty novel, and it works.
Sirsha Ray’s camerawork is neat and the cricket scenes are shot with ease. Rita Ghosh’s production design is realistic. The same applies to the costumes by Sachin Lovalekar. Puneet Gautam’s cricket choreography deserves praise as it adds to its authenticity. The Redefine and White Clap VFX are great, although they could have been better in some scenes. The editing of a Sreekar Prasad should have been sharper as some scenes go on and on.
Overall, SHABAASH MITHU tells an inspiring story from one of the greatest cricket legends in the world. At the box office, it has the potential to attract viewers, especially in urban areas. It also deserves tax-free status.