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      Shabaash Mithu Movie Review: Taapsee Pannu & Her 'Women In Blue' Score Runs Despite Some Damp Squibs

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      Rating:
      3.0/5
      Star Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vijay Raaz, Richard Bhakti Klein, Mumtaz Sorcar, Brijendra Kala
      Director: Srijit Mukherji

      Mithali Raj (Taapsee Pannu)'s coach Sampath (Vijay Raaz) points out at the cricket ground and tells her, "Yeh maidaan dekh rahi hain, yeh bhi zindagi ki tarah hain. Ismein saare dard chhote hain bas khelna bada hain." However, when it comes to Taapsee Pannu's fictional retelling of the real-life story of former Indian captain Mithali Raj, the game falls short of being perfect on the pitch despite some earnest performances on screen.

      What's Yay: Performances

      What's Nay: Screenplay lacks grip

      Story

      Story

      Shabaash Mithu opens with a dejected Mithali Raj (Taapsee Pannu), drenched in sweat, sprinting through the quiet bylanes of Hyderabad. The film hits the rewind button where we get a peek into Mithali's childhood. When a young, exquisite Mithali strikes a friendship with the sharp-tongued, tomboyish Noorie at her classical dance classes, little does she know that it would change the course of her life forever.

      Amid sessions of 'nritta', 'natya' and 'nritya', the girls sneak out to play cricket at an abandoned ground where a washing paddle is their cricket bat, and stones lying there double up as their fielders. During one such match, Mithali's exceptional cricketing skills catch the eye of Samrat (Vijay Raaz), a cricket coach. He offers to take Mithali and Noorie under his wings. While Mithali's father agrees to this, Noorie keeps it a secret from her family.

      Years pass by, and this 'Sachin-Kambli' duo is now slowly making their mark with the bat and ball. However, owing to certain circumstances, only Mithali gets selected in the Indian National Women's Team. What follows next is the journey of her glorious career which is marked with hits and misses.

      Direction

      Direction

      Shabaash Mithu hits sixers in the portions involving young Mithali and Noorie. Unfortunately, director Srijit Mukherji ends up delivering some 'wides' as well, which in turn makes this match a tad boring at places. Unlike most sports biopics, the conflict for the characters in Shabaash Mithu is internal.

      Mukherji and writer Priya Alven barely create tension-laden moments to keep you on the edge of your seats. From being denied equal opportunities to being ridiculed, the director portrays the obstacles faced by Mithali and her team. Barring the airport sequence, none of them creates a lasting impression. There's also a Chak De! India deja vu moment. However, it hardly makes your heart beat faster.

      In a nutshell, Shabaash Mithu is more effective as Mithali-Noorie's friendship story than the cricket part. The pace of the narrative is also sluggish at places.

      Performances

      Performances

      Taapsee Pannu steps into Mithali Raj's shoes and delivers a diligent performance despite some stumbles here and there. However, if you expect something 'hatke' coming from her stable, then there isn't much to go 'shabaash' over.

      Just like his character in the film, Vijay Raaz is dependable on screen too. Even in his limited screen time, he keeps your eyes glued to the screens. Mumtaz Sorcar plays her part well.

      But, it's the child actors, Inayat Verma and Kasturi Jagnam who steal the show in Shabaash Mithu with their endearing performances. The two girls leave you smiling every time they appear on screen.

      Technical Aspects

      Technical Aspects

      Sirsha Ray's cinematography captures Mithali's journey in an intriguing way. Keeping aside the archival footage, the cricket matches have been pulled fairly well. A Sreekar Prasad ends up being too lenient on the editing table.

      Music

      Music

      Kailash Kher's 'Hindustan Meri Jaan' is an average fare. 'Fateh' crooned by Romy and Charan makes for an energetic listen.

      Verdict

      Verdict

      "Tik ke dikha," Mithali's fellow cricketer tells her in an intimidating tone and lunges deadly bouncers and wides at her during the net practice. In a similar way, Srijit Mukerji also bowls in his own style. Like Mithali, you hit some and miss others.

      We give 3 stars out of 5 to Taapsee Pannu's Shabaash Mithu.

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