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Mary Kom
Producer: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Director: Omung Kumar
Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Darshan Kumar, Rajni Basumatary, Linn Laisshram
Music: Shashi Suman and Shivamm
Lyrics: Prashant Ingole and Sandeep Singh
Genre: Historic
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: September 2014
Reviewed by: Anish Mohanty  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.09 / 10 (rated by 412 viewers)
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Apart from being an art director on several films, Omung Kumar has donned several hats. He has been a model, actor and a television host. With ‘Mary Kom’, based on the life of Indian boxer Mungte Chungneijang Mary Kom, he makes his debut as a film director. Most of the biopics in the past were based on the lives of deceased personalities. ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ broke the mould as it was based on the life of a living sportsperson. ‘Mary Kom’ goes a step further in that direction as the film is based on the life of a fairly young sportsperson.

A pregnant Mary Kom (Priyanka Chopra) and her husband Onler Kom (Darshan Kumaar) are on their way to find a hospital or clinic where Mary could deliver her baby. The fact that there is a curfew in Manipur adds to their woes. The film then goes into a flashback and shows Mary’s journey from being a poor farmer’s daughter in a poverty stricken place to being the star boxer Mary Kom.

Those who have read a bit about Mary Kom or have done a bit of research on her would know that the makers have taken certain creative liberties while making the film. Certain events took place a little differently than the way it is portrayed in the film. The way Mary and Onler met is portrayed very differently in the film from what really happened. One can’t hold that against the makers as they have done that with the objective of adding some drama in the narrative or to elevate the entertainment quotient and most importantly, they have done this with the consent of Mary Kom. While some portions, like the romantic track between Mary and Onler, appears to be very conventional and convenient, some portions register a lasting impact on the viewer’s mind, one of which being the climax of the film which is very moving and almost brings tears to one’s eyes.

Omung Kumar makes a confident, assured debut as a director. One does not expect a debut making director to helm a biopic but Omung does it and does it with élan. The film has a gamut of emotions and Omung skillfully brings out all those emotions on the celluloid. The scenes depicting the boxing tournaments are very well executed. Writing a biopic could be very tricky as the writer has to make sure that he or she exercises their creative freedom without deviating from the truth. Writer Saiwyn Quadras should be lauded for his effort. Though the drama goes overboard at times, he manages to strike a fine balance between writing a script that’s realistic and at the same time has all the trappings of commercial cinema that would keep the viewer engaged.

The dialogues, written by Karan Singh Rathore and Ramendra Vashishth, are good. The dialogues, though in Hindi, have strong influences of Manipuri dialect which further lends authenticity to the film. Keiko Nakahara’s camerawork is good. Music (songs: Shashi Suman and Shivamm; background score: Rohit Kulkarni) is in sync with the film. The editing (Rajesh G. Pandey and Sanjay Leela Bhansali) is crisp.

Priyanka Chopra delivers a very fine performance as Mary Kom. A lot of people may argue that she does not look like Mary Kom. True. But, making her look like Mary Kom, with the help of prosthetics and make-up, would have looked very gimmicky. Also, having a major star like Priyanka Chopra playing the titular role would only help the film reach out to a wide audience. Her transition from a teenage girl to becoming a star boxer and then, a mother of two kids is amazing. The sensitivity with which Darshan Kumaar portrays Onler Kom is remarkable. Robin Das, who enacts the role of Mary Kom’s father, is very good. Sunil Thapa delivers a stellar performance as Coach M. Narjit Singh. Shishir Sharma is wasted in a minor role that fails to do justice to his talent.

The major factor that works unfavourably for the film is that the film focuses on Mary’s journey as a sportsperson wherein she is portrayed as a very tough and determined person. The viewers also get to see her softer side as a mother but all this is revolved around her career- how she performs these different roles while pursuing a career. The director could have thrown some more light on her personal life which, in turn, would have helped the viewers understand Mary a little better. The romantic track anyways, as stated earlier, is weak. Had the film offered a more personal, intimate view into Mary’s life, the film would have been a little more effective.The presence of these elements would have made this film, which is a good effort, a great film.

But overall, Mary Kom commands respect not just as a sportsperson but also as a courageous, resilient and wonderful human being. Mary Kom is an inspiring story of a woman who battled several odds to emerge as an international boxing champion. The film is inspiring and entertaining in equal measures. Go for it!

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