Movie Review: 22 YARDS

When sports journalists try their hands at directing films based on their vocation, much is expected – especially when the sport is one which the nation breathes and eats 24/7. To begin with, the title of the film, which alludes to the distance between stumps to stumps, is a tad misleading.

Ron Sen (TV actor Barun Sobti) is a well-known sports agent who manages the careers of several high profile cricketers. His life takes a sharp nosedive when he’s seen associating with a bookie. His relationship with Sonali (Panchhi Bora), an upcoming reporter, suffers too. He finds consolation when he sees Shome (Amartya Ray), a cricketer who was touted as the next big thing, working in a department store. How he revives the lad’s career – while resurrecting his own in the bargain, forms the crux of the 134-minute film.

Having been a veteran sports journalist – as debutante producer-director, Ghosh ought to have invested a little more of her sports experience into the film. The story and screenplay by first-timer Samrat, too, lacks the intensity associated with a sports drama, especially in the first half. For a cricket enthusiast, the buildup to the cricketing scenes would seem to be too laborious.

Barun Sobti, though a bit inconsistent, judiciously eschews the theatrical mannerisms associated with the small screen. Amartya Ray, who doubles as the film’s composer alongwith Bobo Rahut, is average while Assamese model-cum-actress Panchhi Bora shows a fair amount of screen presence. Veteran Rajit Kapur, as sports psychologist Dr Zayyed Khan, fails to rise above the ordinary. Rajesh Sharma as rival sports agent Ravi Khanna has few scenes to show his mettle.

But the worst piece of casting – and performance – should surely be reserved for Chaiti Ghoshal (relative of the director?) as Shome’s sister Krishna: the discernible age gap between the two notwithstanding.

The on-field action, too, seems amateurishly shot. On the whole, while the thrust of the film is obliquely on cricket, most of the action is played out between relationships.

Hoshang K. Katrak

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