I truly remember my last conversation with Sanjay Suri where we were discussing about the merits and promotion of SAY SALAAM INDIA amongst other things related to the film. My constant query had always been – “Why the film is not being promoted at all?” Agreed that the film just had Sanjay Suri and Milind Soman as the known faces [heck the later was missing from the film’s promos completely], the production house was new and the director was wielding the megaphone for the first time ever when it came to Bollywood.
Still there needs to be some kind of momentum built up before releasing a film. Why not better planning and a right release strategy? Moreover was it really required to release the film right now when cricket is a strict no-no? Couldn’t it have been a better idea to hold it on for a couple of months or so before our paper tigers redeem themselves by playing a few matches, win them and make us, the true Indian cricket fans, forget that World Cup 2007 ever happened?
And pray, couldn’t it have been edited in a hush-hush manner with the references to Sehwag, Dhoni etc. being replaced with anything, just about anything else! It’s criminal to call them out so loudly with appreciation today, you know!
But guess what, those who are not aware about the film or may not be watching it today due to all the reasons as stated above are missing out on something. And that’s because all said and done, SAY SALAAM INDIA is a reasonably entertaining film that could just have pushed the adrenalin level to a good high if only India was winning in the World Cup. [Ok, so I promise that this is the last reference I am making to cricket here. Enough of heartbreak for everyone!]
So why not start looking at the film as a call of the underdog. Because that’s what it is all about – an underdog winning! Let’s call the small town Tejpur cricket team as the one we have seen coming from Bangladesh [oops, here I break my promise again!]. And let’s call the Royal Heritage School team as that of India.
Now what we see is an all-star India cricket team that has been on a winning course but is breaching the line of over confidence. On the other hand there is this upcoming Bangladeshi team that is weak on resources but is trying to make it happen for them in the big arena. They don’t have exposure, contacts and the right direction but each and every boy out there can say one thing proudly – “Mere paas coach hai!” So what if his name is straight out of a popular job portal villain – HARI SADU [Sanjay Suri]. Here is a cool man who just has one passion – cricket. The voice he loves most? The sound of ‘tak’ that comes when a ball hits the bat.
Well, the Indian team has a coach too. He is Harry [Milind Soman], really-really-really synonymous of Greg Chappel since he believes in applying technique [through laptops et al] to have a cricket team functioning. So here we see an overconfident bunch taking up a team of small town boys who come with just the right determination, confidence, attitude etc. etc. etc.
What happens in the grand finale? Well, we all know that. Who doesn’t want an underdog to make an impression? Here too one sees the film taking a similar graph, though the good part is that in spite of a predictable turn of events, you are not disappointed with the final outcome. And why should one be? While watching a love story one wants the hero and a heroine to meet. While watching a revenge drama, one but obviously expects a hero to beat the pulp out of a villain? So what’s wrong with expecting an underdog to perform well even in the face of adversities!
In his upcoming career so far, there has rarely been a performance [one can’t think of any though!] where Sanjay Suri hasn’t been his natural best. JHANKAAR BEATS, PINJAR, MY BROTHER NIKHIL, BAS EK PAL – the hall