Among the various players, the film predominantly focuses on the righteous Vijay (Nishan Nanaiah). Unlike the rest, he has a lot more to worry about, than winning the game. He must restore the respect his late father rightfully deserved, realise his dream of enabling sufficient water supply to his village and marry the girl (Saranya Mohan) he loves.
Since the lead actor has enough on his plate, him grappling with those multiple problems seems like a never-ending melodramatic journey, which is more tiring than inspiring. While it’s a relief to see a film based on Kabaddi and not cricket, we wish the execution was more authentic.
Instead of infusing ‘energy and courage’ into the film, something the sport strongly embodies, you end up watching a compilation of sob stories as each character recounts a tragic tale, which only distracts you from the core premise. The romantic track incorporates love songs featuring backup dancers, clad in ghagra-choli, doing the coordinated dance moves, something you saw in the 90s. If that’s not outdated enough, the protagonist’s sacrifice, anger, effort to reclaim his father’s lost honour etc seems too cliched and over-dramatic for your liking. Even the dialogues lack depth. For instance, Annu Kapoor’s pep talk as a coach, fails to evoke a reaction. The supposed villains sound comical. An animation scene showing a broken rib penetrating the heart is unintentionally funny!
The casting looks flawed too. None of the actors look or behave like Kabaddi players, competing in a ‘state-level’ tournament. While predictability of the plot can be forgiven since most sports-based films are about underdogs emerging victorious, the story must strike a chord with the audience, which doesn’t happen here.
Set in Badlapur, a town in Uttar Pradesh (not the city in Maharashtra’s Thane district), the film revolves around a group of amateur Kabaddi players ( Badlapur Boys), who dream of making it big someday, against all odds. They soon get a golden opportunity to compete in a state-level tournament, thanks to coach (Annu Kapoor). Can the underdogs succeed?
The Times of India