Another addition after cargos to the obsession of biopics in the country carried on this year with the Amole Gupta Directed film Saina. Before the casting of Parineeti Chopra, Shraddha Kapoor was finalized for the role but due to falling severely ill during the shooting of the movie that set back the schedule and the crisis that came with the casting of Street Dancer 3D for whom Shraddha had to fill katrina kaiff’s shoes. Parineeti was finally casted and has worked really hard to get into the role of a professional badminton player, something reiterated by director Amole Gupta.
Irrespective of all the preconceived notions i had regarding the film’s trailer and the journey it has had. I went into the cinema with a clean slate and wishing for nothing but Parineeti Chopra to hit it out of the park and get back into the groove of impressing us on the big screen. As she so effortlessly did during the early days of her career. The film chronicles the life of Saina Nehwal from a young age to her global prominence in the sport of badminton, with the supporting and encouraging family environment Saina’s journey growing up in a Haryanvi family set in Hyderabad in a society where there are several taboos regarding women who excel in their respective fields.
We see a girl make her dreams come true and become world number one by the year 2015. The journey and the personal hurdles she faces forms the storyline of Saina. Here’s me telling you the good and bad aspects of the film, so that you guys can ultimately decide whether to watch it in theaters or not.
The underwhelming aspects – The Trailer and marketing : This is a prime example of how a terribly predictable and generic trailer can do such a disservice to a film which has so much more to offer. The trailer signer presented itself as any generic biopic and while this is a film that will go in the category of biopics that are praiseworthy but not exceptional. The trailer not only did showcase a glimpse of its least captivating moments but also showcased Parineeti’s least flattering shots.
The dialogue that is cut in the trailer of Parineeti is possibly her least convincing attempt at embodying Saina Nehwal, but as you explore the film you can highlight countless number of moments that could have resonated and impacted the audience far more convincingly. I am totally guilty of being swayed by what the trailer had to offer and was pleasantly surprised on how the movie was much more than that.
This is a rarity as you more or less get an idea of the film and its pitch through the trailer but this time it definitely did a disservice to the perception around the film.
Makeup and Technical features: The biggest talking point after the trailer sadly had become about Parineeti Chopra’s mole in the film and while this may be a hilarious point but the criticism or analysis is honestly spot on. As this physical feature literally has a personality of its own even in the movie the mole is like martian manhunter, that can change its shape size and position at the drop of a hat as scenes change the mole also takes the cure to alter its presence.
An unnecessary physical feature that was honestly not required for the film. One of my favorite sequences from sports films include the sport itself being in action so if you see sequences from a movie like Southpaw where Jake Gyllenhaal is actually taking the blows and getting his hands dirty, or a more appropriate example being Borg vs Mcenroe, where there are long shots of a back and forth in the tennis match.
I had a huge problem with the way the badminton matches were shot in this movie whenever the child actor who played Saina or background artists are playing we get to see expansive shots of the rallies, which provide a realism to the sport being played but whenever Parineeti’s face was included it only provided close-ups and when it zooms out to showcase the badminton match the makers placed the camera behind pariniti where it is clear that body double is utilized in several sequences.
This often takes away from the engaging appeal of sports films, when the losses and wins in the movies are shown as mere montages and the rally between players are just individual shots rather than a long shot with no cuts just like in intricate choreography. From a technical standpoint especially while capturing the badminton matches the makers could have done a more intricate job.
The good : The supporting cast i love the performances of this film while the prime focus of the movie is the main character of the film. It also requires an army for these stars to shine bright, the supporting cast provide a great hand in elevating the quality of this film Meghna Malik plays the role of Saina’s mother and she is known for her aggressive performances on television and she channelizes a lot of that in this role.
I wouldn’t lie to you that in moments she does contribute an over-dramatic pitch but in hindsight, i actually think she captured the enthusiasm of an indulgent but proud parent really well. Her dreams and aspirations coming true through the hard work of her daughter is communicated fairly well, with her Subra Jyoti Bharat As Sana’s father provides a great contrast to the energy of the mother. He is calm pragmatic and a simple man who is cautious but doesn’t act as an impediment to his daughter’s dreams. Nayesha Kaur plays the role of young Saina and can i just tell you how bloody impressed i was with her performance.
She barely has any lines in the film but still has the capability to impress you simply for her expressions and her agility and body language on the badminton court. She is actually a bright young prospect in badminton in real life and every shot where she is playing that becomes crystal clear. A huge shout out to the actor as well who plays Meru the initial coach of the young kids as well. He watches the channel and just assimilate it perfectly in this world created by Amole Gupta. Man of call is Rajan the coach that changes the mindset and has a deep impact in Saina’s career steals the show in every scene he features him.
He is definitely one of the most talented stars we have in the country and i hope one day we can see him in the lead of his own web series on an otd platform.
Parineeti Chopra i was quick and i jumped the gun and my assessment of Parineeti in this film just through the trailer, i have to say though that the trailer did capture probably moments where you can actually fault Parineeti’s pitch accent or dialogue delivery but when i saw Saina today i came to the conclusion that Parineeti’s performance without a doubt is genuine, convincing and credible.
There are so many moments i found which were 10 times more impactful than the ones that were showcased in the trailer and it would have genuinely increased the curiosity of the audience of what she has to offer. While i am not fully convinced of a physical transformation for the role and i was quite bummed out that there were no long sequences of her rallying in badminton matches. She really did warm up to the role of sein as the minutes passed by and made it her own.
Especially the scene she shares with a coach played by Manav Kaul, Parineeti shines in conveying the hunger of a sports player and what she wants to achieve. There are several emotional moments also as she faces personal hurdles that she needs to persevere from and Parineeti genuinely conveys that with ease. I was extremely surprised and glad that this was the end product and sincerely apologize for jumping the gun on my assessment of a pitch through the trailer. What i won’t deny is that the trailer was extremely forgettable.
The writing this is also an important point to be noted that the reason for this film to be predictable but simple sweet and an inspirational tale that you can watch once in theaters is not because of Parineeti but the beautiful writing of Amole Gupta and the dialogues written by Amitosh Nagpal.
The film provides a commentary on many aspects that people will connect with, something that was not communicated through the trailer especially if you have had goals to pursue sport from a young age, it provides a commentary on how kids are destined for success if provided a motivating and liberating home environment. It showcases the pressure on children when parents channelize in wanting to achieve their own dreams through them. It speaks with great sensitivity the importance of a diet and a sports player often overlooked in films and elevating one’s performance.
It hilariously speaks about the commercialization and distractions that come with prominence often leading to several deviations from the ultimate goal in a sports person’s life. It speaks about the sacrifices by parents in terms of investment of time and money that goes into making a star and finally dealing with setbacks individually that need to be dealt with and move forward.
The film is a predictable but simple sweet and inspirational tale that i think many people can take away something from Amole Gupta’s writing and Parineeti’s convincing effort make it a definite one time watch. If i were to create a tier list of sports films involving women if in the god tier i would include films like Dangal, Chak De India and Bended Like Beckham and in Pesa Vasool, i would put Mary Kom and in the category of there’s more to love than hate i would put Sand ki Aankh, i would put Dil Bole Hadipa in ghar chalo, then i think Saina will fall in the category of a great effort which has more good to offer than bad falling in the same category as Sand Ki Aankh. Don’t be swayed by the trailer like me give it a chance it is worth it at least once.
Here is the rating of film Saina