Sports drama genre has always been an interesting one when it comes to Indian cinema. It’s either a biopic on some well known sports personality or either the story of an underdog emerging against all odds to become numero uno. Irudhi Suttru (Saala Khadoos in Hindi) falls in the latter category. Sudha Kongora, who debuted through ‘Drohi’ to Tamil cinema has directed Irudhi Suttru which was simultaneous taken in Hindi too. The film features Madhavan, who is back in Tamil cinemas after a long hiatus, along with Ritika Singh, a professional mixed martial artist.
Irudhi Suttru is the story of Prabhu (played by Maddy), a talented boxer who fell victim to the boxing federation’s corruption and politics which destroys him professionally and personally, and is now resorted to become a boxing coach. Fallen but not beaten, he still does his best in picking out the right talents and standing what he believes for, though he comes out as a foul mouthed, cocky womaniser to others. He spots the talent in Madhi (Ritika), a fisherwoman and a happy-go-lucky-girl who decides to train under his wing just for the remuneration he promises and for the fact that it’ll stop him from expelling his sister, who’s training in the hopes of a government job, from the association. Prabhu’s determination to train Madhi who won’t budge and how things end up as a ‘and they happily lived ever after’ forms the crux of this film.
First half sees a beautiful introduction to the lead pair’s characters with Maddy’s opening scene itself showing his positives and negatives. Ritika’s character build up needs a special mention. Santhosh Narayanan’s music and Sivakumar Vijayan’s magic behind the lens in showcasing North Madras takes the audience through a breezy yet gripping first half. Post intermission, it’s full on raw action as Madhi turns a new leaf and becomes the person Prabhu wanted her to be.
There couldn’t have been a better comeback for Maddy to Tamil cinema. This role fits him like a glove and it looks as if the it’s tailor made for him. He has beefed up and apparently trained to box for months and that has definitely given him a upper hand in executing the ruthless, rugged look the character craves for. Ritika, on the other hand, is an excellent find for Indian cinema. Thanks to her background, she seem to play her character with such grace and elegance. Be the devil-may-care attitude in first half with a local body language and eccentric personality or the serious transformation in the second half, she has done a marvellous job in it. Not to mention the near perfect lip sync. Apart from them, there are veterans such as Radharavi and Nasser who’ve given their usual best in whatever small roles they’ve got. Kaali Venkat has done a neat job in delivering some humour quotient. Mumtaz Sorcar, daughter of the famous magician, PC Sorcar Jr, gets her pass to Tamil cinema with this flick and her role as a boxer and Madhi’s elder sister is quite an important one. Santhosh Narayanan’s BGM sets the mood perfectly and his ‘Ey Sandakaara’ track is one of his best compositions. This is also his first Hindi film. Dialogues are one of this film’s strongest pillars and some lines command a horde of whistles across the theatre. Sudha Kongara can be said as someone who finally breaks the jinx in Tamil cinema that a woman director can make a daring film with a strong message, yet say it in the most entertaining way possible. Her depiction of the love track between lead characters is a wonderful touch. The scenes which shows the depth of corruption in our sports federations is alarming and the fact that it’s not fiction in our country only makes it more disturbing.
Though the second half drags a bit at places and the latter half of it is pretty guessable, there is almost no deviation from the main story line. Couple that with some brilliant film making and amazing performances from the leads, they all make Irudhi Suttru a film that’s not to be missed.
Irudhi Suttru – A knock out performance