Maidaan Movie Review

Rahul Desai

Fails to Score

Ajay Devgn’s Sporting Attempt Fails to Score. The biopic, starring Devgn, Priyamani and Gajraj Rao, covers a decade in the life of the iconic football coach, Syed Abdul Rahim.

Top-Notch Sports Choreography

It features some of the best sports choreography since the hockey matches of Chak De! India (2007). You can tell that the film loves the visual tempo of football. It loves the tropes of underdog storytelling. It loves the period-movie template. 

The Undoing of Maidaan

It is that the film is in love with itself. The 181-minute journey is so stuffed with vain melodrama and narrative stepovers that it keeps admiring its posture in the mirror. It puts the “Main” (I) in Maidaan, which is ironic, given that teamwork is the ultimate goal of the sport.

Unnecessary Hurdles

Most sports biopics count on the audience to mistake the rousing source material for rousing storytelling. Where Maidaan repeatedly falls short, however, is in its big-picture overkill. The bloated screenplay doesn’t trust the inherent context of the film.

Emotional Play

Can a film – or any work of art – really be understood if you don’t acknowledge the blood, sweat, and tears behind it? Victory is useless if it isn’t attached to victimhood. This story, too, is so focused on selling the handicap that it fails to forge its own merit.

Works Only Because of Football

Football – a solid metaphor for life – elevates the climax. Which is to say: Maidaan scores in stoppage time, but it isn’t enough to salvage the scoreline. A thrilling finish doesn’t always amount to victory. Sometimes, it’s just a slimmer margin of defeat.