As always, I know its late for the review, but I like to take my own time. And really wait for a movie to evoke a review rather than just mechanically keep writing. Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, here are my thoughts on the movie Mary Kom. Incidentally, today marks the 5th anniversary of this blog and I would like to dedicate this article towards the movie Mary Kom.
Unlike Hollywood, where there are a plethora of sports movies which are good and have made money, in the Indian film industry, there are not many such examples.In a Cricket crazy country , where people just follow the sport, it is ironical that very few movies have been made based on Cricket / players. The one’s that were made, were not really up to scratch except for say Iqbal – which I thought was nicely done. But I am not sure how much money it made…even if it did, it certainly did not get into the block buster category for more producers to pump in more money for similar projects.
So now imagine, someone investing in a much lesser known, understood, or aware sport – Boxing. Gamble is the best word that comes to my mind. Whatever it may be, the guy decided to produce a movie on Boxing and that to me is reason to believe that either the story is really good or they guy has a lot of money to waste.! Fortunately, it turns out to be the former.
What works for the movie : the fact that it is a true story.
What doesn’t work : its glossiness .
Now it might be a tall order to compare it with Raging Bull, however, if one a scale of ten, where ten is best, Raging Bull was 9, Mary Kom would come close to a 5,which in my view is pretty high up the order.I’ve deliberately not compared it with Ali, or Rocky series, since they were no match for the class and authenticity of Raging Bull.
These kind of movies require all aspects of the story to fall in place to make it look real. For example, the physical changes that the protagonist goes through over the years, the change in technology over the years in scenes which depict an earlier time period than present, the detailing on as close as possible look of the character to the original, and the most important how the character changes with due course of time , as in what the protagonist was at say age 15 will not be the same at age 30 – the vocabulary would have also undergone some change…just like in real life.
Its in these detailing that Mary Kom disappoints cinematically. Where it scores is on highlighting the pain and frustration that not only a lesser known sport faces in India, but also sports for women and people from an ignored region of India -Manipur. That was so long overdue and so much needed. The noticeable performance by Priyanka sustains through the movie. The work out scenes were really a bit of played for the gallery show , a trend which was first authentically shown in Sunny Deols- Ghayal , and has been shown in many movies since then.Not quite required but will generate claps oohs and aahs.
There could’ve been a few more elements that need some attention in Mary Kom,but having said that ,you must realize the comparison is keeping Raging Bull in mind. I think of it as a compliment to Marry Kom. It manages to achieve the objective of awareness creation, not sure if that was by design,but there are many more people who know that India has a four time world champion in women’s boxing and that she comes from the North Eastern part of India -Manipur and not China.
Would strongly recommend for Indians to watch and be more aware of life other than Cricket and the wider audience to watch and appreciate a true story come alive on screen. I would go with 4 out 5 for Mary Kom.