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Forgotten Heroes

Chandu Champion: What makes this sports biopic work

Early feedback hails the realism in the depiction of sporting sequences in the film.

Chandu Champion: What makes this sports biopic work

Kartik Aaryan's boxing sequences drew praise from movie goers.  (Photo credit: Chandu Champion)


Rahul Kargal

Updated: 15 Jun 2024 4:03 AM GMT

There are several reasons why Bollywood loves biopics. For starters, it hands film-makers a rare opportunity to work with a true story. Thereafter, with a large canvas in place, they are able to wield their creative brush and paint a picture that panders to virtually every target segment in the country.

Biopics, therefore, make for a mouthwatering dish. Add a flavour of sports to it, and the result is virtually irresistible.

Chandu Champion is the latest concoction in this genre to hit the silver screen.

But unlike Maidaan, that showcased the lesser known history of a solitary sport in football, this new release offers a multi-sport spectacle.

A true story

The movie needs no introduction and chances are that you have watched the trailer by now (if not the movie itself) and are aware of Muralikant Petkar's unreal journey. It's not everyday that a man from rural India wins gold at an international sporting event. That Petkar did it five-decades ago makes the achievement truly remarkable.

Kabir Khan, much like he did in 83, tells the story of the unsung hero, and we are told, plays to the galleries along the way.

Chest-thumping dialogues, a generous dose of humour and the must-have occurrence of a song-and-dance, are the obvious inclusions.

Also, there is the rousing soundtrack and dramatic slow-motion set-pieces at critical moments - all familiar tropes that audiences are now well acquainted with.

With that being said, what did the audience make of this flick?

Visually appealing

Speaking to The Bridge, Soumya, an architect, was pleased as punch with what she saw.

"The screenplay, cast and storytelling were fantastic," she said, before adding that Bollywood making such sports movies was a 'wonderful development.'

Similarly, Sharan loved the dialouges.

"The dialogues that depict the grit and determination of a young Petkar in the wrestling match will stay in my mind for a long time," he said.

For others, like Pavan and Dinesh, both software engineers, the visuals supposedly stood out.

"The cinematography was superb and took us back to an era that we can only imagine."

While cinematic aesthetics appealed to several, others were all praise for just one man.

Kartik and sporting realism

Sneha, an interior designer, has been a fan of the actor for a long time and wasn't going to miss the first-day of his new release.

"I've been watching him since Pyaar Ka Punchnama but Kartik was something else in this movie. His transformation is amazing," said the visibly excited fan.

Aaryan's physical transformation has indeed been the talk of tinsel-town in the days leading to the release. And fans like Rohan, a sports and fitness enthusiast, have taken note of it.

"He clearly appears to have put in the work. His body does appear real. Also, the boxing sequences were well depicted and it is amazing how sports gave Petkar a goal in life."

Authenticity has for long been the bane of Bollywood. More so when it comes to sports dramas. Therefore, early feedback of realism bodes well for not just the filmmakers but also for the sports community.

With the Paralympics set to commence in Paris in late August, the timing of Chandu Champion could not have been any better.

And one just hopes that when people step out of the theaters, they emerge with more than just a mere sense of acknowledgment of the hardships faced by our military veterans and the differently abled that pursue sports with the sole intention of bring laurels for the country.

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