No other Bollywood actress other than Priyanka Chopra could have fit the character of Mary Kom. After watching the movie, that's the only thing that will cross your mind.
`Mary Kom` directed by Omung Kumar is a tribute to the living legend MC Mary Kom. The biopic which traces the journey of five times world boxing champion and Olympic medalist Mary Kom, is just tailor-made for the big screen.
Young Mary, played by Priyanka, who hails from a small town in Manipur, is rebellious and a fighter since her childhood and has always nurtured the dream of being a boxer. But her father stands in front of her dream and does not approve of a girl going to the boxing ring.
She easily picks up fights with the school boys and is not one to be put down easily. That's when she meets her coach Narjit Singh (Sunil Thapa) who is one of the pivotal figures in her life. Together they embark on a journey to give the world a world champion, Mary Kom, that we know of now.
Despite all odds, a poor diet and facing a tide of racism (because she is a Northeasterner), Mary braves it and packs some power punches to win the world championship. An emotional moment, as that is when her father understands the passion that burns within her and accepts her decision wholeheartedly.
Mary, through this journey, meets Onler (Darshan Kumar) who promises to support her boxing career throughout and amidst a song, they say `I do`, miffing her coach as he believes this would mark the end of Mary's career.
Post marriage, Mary's boxing career almost comes to a halt. Mary becomes a forgotten hero and it hits her when a kid whom she meets in a bus wants to become like Mary but fails to recognise her. Three times World Champion Mary decides to get her career back on track and starts her training in full swing.
And all respect to Onler, who stands like a true pillar of support in the lean times and coaxes her to go back to what she is best at doing- boxing.
Hurdles are a plenty in Mary's life; her comeback from motherhood to being a boxer is quite tough. Several times she has to bow down to the federation authorities, simply because she is a Manipuri and that's when your blood boils. Despite being a Indian and fighting for the country, Mary faces racism and her agony and frustration over this is loud and clear.
But the fighter does not stop there. The gritty Mary with all her heart and soul comes back in form and shape, and after reconciling with her coach, both set out to conquer the world. The story picks up pace from that point. The build up to the fights was intense and there are some nail-biting moments too. What should be mentioned here is that the end, made me realise how the movie brought out the patriotism in the audience. They were clapping and rooting for Mary and the entire hall stood up to the National Anthem which played towards the end.
Directer Omung Kumar's biopic on this sports lady does lack some craftsmanship, but we all know about the 'Magnificent' Mary and her defiant struggles. Although, the story depicting her life journey could have been made better. Priyanka Chopra truly captures the heart and soul of Mary and is a saving grace.
The boxer's biopic has everything a film demands—drama, actions, a light-humour, emotional upheavals, including some twists in the tale—but what it lacks is the fact that her story could have been unfolded without being 'over the top' filled with all the melodrama.
Interestingly, the makers of the movie couldn't have found a better date for the release than September 5, Teacher's Day. The tender relation that Priyanka shares with her coach explores the emotional contact that a student-teacher shares. The influence that her coach has in her life is huge and it is brought out in the movie.
The movie builds up quite a few emotional moments where your heart would go out to Mary, here played by Priyanka. We can easily empathise with the trying times that the Indian Boxer had to go through and some of the difficult choices she faced on her path of becoming the boxing champion.
The movie also shows the plight of our sports stars in the country, who despite winning medals for the country, face poor treatment at the officials' hands.
Priyanka may fail to resemble Mary in her looks (nevertheless prosthetics were used for her to look a certain way), and accent but she makes it up in capturing the sport star's soul. The broken Hindi, poor accent or the 'you don't look like Manipuri' face, does not hinder Piggy Chops in role.
The chemistry between Darshan and Priyanka falls flat and is nothing much to write home about. When you go for a biopic, you want to learn more about such living legends' life. Specially, because it has been based on the inspirational figure such as Mary. That was what excited me, as I wanted to relish the story of one of the India's most successful sports legend.. I wanted to know of her humble beginnings, her home, the scenic beauty of Manipur—but alas, there was none. There are several intricate details that the movie missed out on. And this was a major disappointment.
The fact is that Priyanka is bound to face criticism for the major flaws that are visible in her body language and looks—but the lady was committed and she gave it her all, despite being a non-boxer.
This could possibly be her career best role. I take back home respect for Mary's husband, Onler, who should be a major inspiration to all the men out there. You can go back home basking in pride knowing about 'Magnificient' Mary and only wish the country would be more supportive to these superstars who are fighting against all odds, to make India proud.
An extra star for the fighting spirit of Priyanka Chopra as MC Mary Kom.