A Punjabi family in London, father scarred by racial discrimination, child not allowed to play a sport. Haven’t we seen it in 2002 in ‘Bend it Like Beckham’? But the drama in this flick is more akin to the 2005 golf drama starring Shia LaBeouf, ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’. Just watch them both as the game ends; you’ll notice!
Rishi Kapoor plays Gurtej Singh Kahlon, a patriarch who runs his large joint family with an iron-fist and holds a sway over the Indian dominated suburb of Southall where racists are kept at bay and Indian cricket victories are celebrated with fanfare.
Akshay Kumar plays his son, Gattu who has sacrificed his dream of playing cricket for England in the fire of his father’s stubbornness. The rest of his family follows suit. Enter a silver lining in the form of a spirited Simran (Anushka Sharma) and her brother, the Patiala House now dares to think of a way out.
So, what does this movie offer? There’s plentiful drama, family values that conflict with young dreams. You also get to see Hard Kaur singing Bhajans and a 34-year old getting to debut for the national T20 team simply based on a selector who’s seen his backyard bowling. Laughable premises in a quintessential Bollywood drama! But, to its credit, you don’t see a father yelling ‘Chak-de-Phatte’ to his son in the stadium.
But the film is however not about cricket. Coherent with the theme, it focuses on the father-son conflict arising from a generation gap and change in circumstances. But, the filmmakers exercise just enough caution not to show an England vs. India match, thus avoiding a possible double-whammy, and central theme losing focus.
In fact, after a bucket-load of lame comedies, it is good to see Akshay Kumar in a serious role after a long time. He deserves applause for aptly playing man who lives as a shadow of himself but with the fire still burning bright within. Anushka Sharma has surely developed since her ‘Rab-ne’ days especially after ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’.
Should you watch this movie? Not if you are paying through your nose for an evening show in an up-market multiplex. But for Akshay Kumar’s performance and Anushka’s undeniable screen presence, you can give it a shot when it hits the small screen.
Rating 5/10: Family drama served in a ‘Patiala Peg’!