Saala Khadoos is a story of two siblings, Laxmi (Mumtaz Sorcar) and Madhi (Ritika Singh), both trained boxers brought up in poverty. But with their sights set on boxing, the film sheds light on several issues. Namely, the lack of sporting infrastructure and the corrupt selectors who subject the women athletes to sexual humiliation are certain critical issues the movie touches upon. The viewers perhaps have seen earlier such attempt in the movie Mary Kom, dedicated on the life of the legendary female boxer Mary Kom.
This drama directed by Sudha Kongara has a cast of R Madhavan, Ritika Singh, Mumtaz Sorcar, Nasser, Zakir Hussain. Adi Tomar (Madhavan) is bitter because his dream to win the boxing gold for India was thwarted by his devious coach Dev Khatri (Zakir) who spiked his gloves during an all-important match. So when he spots talent in a Chennai fisher-woman Madhi (Ritika Singh) he wants to see his dream fulfilled through his ward.
Sudha Kongara's story and direction is commendable, but the abundance of songs somehow harms the pace of the story. A line by a power-drunk coach to a promising pupil, that goes— ‘If you wish to rise in life, you have to go down first (pun intended)’ is discomforting.
The film had great potential but it plays safe by taking the familiar route of the underdog becoming the champion. Both Adi and Madhi are rebels, Adi picks up a wild child off the street and she over dramatically resists, Adi pursues her to follow his dream to become like her inspiration the legendary great boxer – Mohhamed Ali. Director Sudha Kongara also skillfully weaves in an attraction between the amateur boxer and her ‘khadoos’ coach, a man almost double her age.
Madhavan is good as the cynical coach who wants nothing more than to earn his stripes. Ritika is raw yet manages a knockout performance. The other actors Nasser, Mumtaz and Zakir have also lent decent support. In all, Saala Khadoos works because of the performances by its cast.