Movie Reviews

Speedy Singhs

Banner: Hari Om Entertainment, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
Director: Robert Lieberman
Producers: Akshay Kumar, Ajay Virmani
Cast: Vinay Virmani, Anupam Kher, Camilla Belle, Gurpreet Guggi, Russell Peters, Noureen Dewulf

When the credits begin to roll, you get an odd feeling of déjà vu and then it hits you – this film bears an uncanny resemblance to the 2006 film The Namesake. But as the film unfolds, your mind wanders to crossover sports-based films like Bend It Like Beckham and Patiala House, which were based on the underdogs of Indian origin torn between their passion for the game and their cultural values.

Set in suburban Toronto, this film tracks a young man struggling between traditional Indo-Canadian family expectations and his dreams of becoming an ice hockey star, a game our Indian audience barely aware of.

Rajveer Singh (Vinay Virmani) is a young man who dreams of a professional ice hockey career. Unquestionably, he has the talent to be an accomplished player but faces many hurdles, the biggest of which is himself. Raised as a traditional Sikh, Rajveer was forbidden as a boy to cut his hair and had to wear a turban. This barred him from playing ice hockey, a game he loved.

In his early teens, forsaking his family’s religious traditions and beliefs, he cuts his hair so that he would be more accepted within his adopted country. His goal is to succeed in a traditionally white man’s sport but this conflicts with his father’s (Anupam Kher) wishes, that he devote himself to his religion and the family business.

Unable to find a foothold in the game, Rajveer creates an all-Indian ice hockey team (The Speedy Singhs). He finds a coach and bringing in his Uncle Sammy’s (Gurpreet Guggi) trucking company as the team’s sponsor. He does all this clandestinely to escape the wrath of his father. On the way to the championship game, he is faced with questions he had avoided all along: Family, friendships, loyalty and identity.

The film is anything but innovative when it comes to the script. Just like many cross-culture films, this one too has a sports-loving protagonist, a firangi love interest, misapprehensions of a father and a cross-cultural identity crisis. With nothing new to offer, the screenplay is monotonous and has a been-there-done-that feel to it. Since it is based on ice hockey, which is alien to India, the movie fails to capture the game’s essence and excitement. Dialogue could have been crisper and fails to evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

Also, the feeling of rapture is completely missing when the team wins matches.The song sequences are forced. Background score is good. Editing is sharp. The drama is dreary. The punches are good but too few.

Director Robert Lieberman, who has directed numerous Hollywood flicks, has done a decent job. His previous 1996 ice hockey-based film D3: The Mighty Ducks had much more to offer as a sport-based film. But this time, he fails to balance the hockey sequences against the audience enthusiasm. Performance-wise, Vinay Virmani does a decent job. Anupam Kher is his usual self. Camilla Belle plays her part well. Gurpreet Guggi is not amusing. Russell Peters does justice with his stand-up, one-liners. Rob Lowe plays his part with panache.

Verdict: The film is poor fare and is based on a tried and tested formula. Its box-office fate will be even poorer.

Leave a Reply

Love Lies & Seeta
The film has a certain artificiality attached to i...
Chutki Bajaa Ke
The film has nothing to offer and fails in every d...
Gangs Of Wasseypur ll
This is a spellbinding sequel that overwhelms you ...
Raaz 3
Raaz 3 is a perfectly blended story with the right...
In The Name Of Tai - Tai Ke Naam
While making an unconventional film, one must alwa...
The Last Act
Although a well-executed film, there are too many ...
Special 26
The Digital Intermediate of Friday Filmworks and V...
Shootout At Wadala
It’s a film that’s straight from the heart and wil...
Gang Of Ghosts
If we were to sum up Satish Kaushik’s new offering...
Samrat & Co.
A decent first half but the second half is very di...
Heropanti
Nevertheless, the freshness and music of this film...
Balwinder Singh Famous Ho Gaya
Comedy is not easy to pull off and filmmakers must...