‘Goal’: Bend it like Southall
The film starts by showcasing the pitiable condition of Southall United football club which is in dire straits due to bankruptcy. Adding fuel to the fire is their lack of victory for over 25 years making everyone including the commentator Johnny Bakshi (Dilip Tahil) and the city council authorities wash their hands off them. The pathetic plight of the team instigates the latter party to present a condescending proposal which involves the utilization of the lush green grounds for a better commercialized purpose for the community.
A perplexed Captain Shaan Ali (Arshad Warsi) wows to bring back the team to where it belongs in a span of time and sets on a target mission to achieve his goal. Coaxing a privileged yet disgraced ex-player of Southall- Tony (Boman Irani) to coach them, the rather battered team picks up its threads to weave themselves as one bundle of strength, unity and power packed players which prove to be a challenging task for all.
However a missing ingredient in the team after a disastrous defeat compels Tony to approach Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham) -an aspiring football player who was mercilessly dropped from one of the top teams due to racist reasons. A considerable amount of persuasion propels Sunny to join Southall United evoking mixed reactions from various sources. While his entry brings in immense joy to Rumana (Bipasha Basu) who is the sister of Shaan and the physician of the team; it infuriates Shaan and the rest who are at loggerheads with Sunny and are rather enraged at this ‘striking’ gesture of Tony. Personal differences and petty squabbles rise at an alarming rate which prevents the team from tasting success and ultimately turn them into a laughing stock for all. The reprimanding speech from Tony makes realization dawn upon them like the rising sun that dispels the darkness at daybreak. This results in a newfound energy and spirit in these players who emerge with triumph in every game with intense grit and determination.
Their popularity begins to soar high along with their morale and confidence. Unable to withstand their supremacy,Johnny Bakshi manages to entice the star of the team-Sunny into the jaws of material gains and a stifling contract in the name of professionalism. Sunny agrees much to the dismay of his team. However an unexpected discovery of his connection with Southhall United in more than one way causes a change in his attitude and sets Sunny to fulfill his unrealized dreams. His fierce fight and 'never say die' attitude brings Southall to its deserving numero uno position which accomplishes the achievement of more than one person’s goal with a melodramatic tinge.
Goal is a well made film with energetic performances and well directed by Vivek Agnihotri. Arshad Warsi is brilliant in his serious and subdued role. John Abraham stands out as the cocky yet passionate player who proves his point in the end. Bipasha is good and the on screen chemistry with John is remarkable. Boman Irani is fantastic as the ex player cum coach who is burdened with the traces of his disturbed past. The rest of the star cast makes a special mark in their unique way.
One is bound to find traces of similarity with 'Chak De India' which portrays an under dog team winning the world cup and how they set aside their personal differences to work collectively. This film also brings about the shameful issue of racism which is the cause of concern for many Indians settled abroad. This is especially brought out in the scene where a ‘gora’ calls John Abraham a ‘paki’ much to the latter’s indignation. The unfair act of dropping him out in spite of his good game, depicts the unprofessional stance of the unsaid yet obvious reason being ‘colored’ which sadly exists in reality.
The film also emphasizes the essence of team spirit which is an inspirational and a motivational lesson for many especially in ones professional lives. It exhibits the admirable passion and love for the game which extends beyond just a mere livelihood for the players. It teaches one to learn to adopt a courageous stance to prove themselves as winners despite the whole world being hostile and scornful towards them.
Achieving a short term or long term goal is all about investing perseverance which will bring out the winning streak with flying colors.
This film is worth a watch and gives its viewers an opportunity to 'bend it like Southall' by exhibiting a whoop of delight and cheer ‘Dhan dhana dhan GOAL!!!!’
Written for www.msn.co.in
Labels: Movie review