iconimg Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 23, 2014
She knows what she wants from life but society, gender clichés and social strata to which she belongs are all against her. Only, hers is a spirit that does not know how to bow down. So, she fights parental disapproval and gender stereotypes to get inside the ring.

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That is what we glean from the two-and-a-half-minute-long trailer of Mary Kom biopic with a non-Manipuri looking Priyanka Chopra in the titular role. The actor is stellar in the role and throws all the right punches.

We also get to hear some knockout dialogues: Priyanka to a person who looks like a government official "Kabhi kisi ko itna bhi mat darao ke darr hi khatam ho jaaye", or her coach after she becomes a mother "Ek aurat maa banke strong ho jaata hai aur ab tumhara takat do guna bad gaya hai".



A fair amount of time is given to how India sees its sportspersons and women. Mary's father throws her gloves into fire and a man taunts her when he sees her with the gloves, "Ye dekho boxing gloves pehen ke aaya Mohammad Ali."

What the audience will love in the film is that Priyanka as Mary always have the answers to all these questions, and is not afraid to say them.

The difficult phase in her career when she lost all hope of a comeback is also well delineated when she says, "India boxer Mary Kom ko bhool gaya hai, kya Mary Kom bhi boxing bhool gaya hai."

Her romance also gets a sweet description. A broken down scooter brings a guilty, "Jaan kar nahi kiya yeh" from her prospective husband, to which she replies, "Tum mere saath safe hai."

However, there are some issues with the trailer too. Priyanka's Manipuri accent comes and goes. Even the 'aata hai, jaata hai' dialogues get jarring after a while. If the characters have to speak Hindi, why can't they do it without mixing up their genders?

The physical dissimilarities between Priyanka and Mary are pronounced and try as hard as you can, you cannot wipe out how the boxing champion looks in real life.

Seeing the non-Manipuri looking Priyanka in the film otherwise inhabited by actors from North-East is disconcerting.

The film, directed by Omung Kumar and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, also stars Minakkshi Kalitaa, Shishir Sharma and Zachary Coffin in significant roles.

Can this be India's Million Dollar Baby? The jury is still out on that.