wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

Wholesomely satisfies the 3Es—Entertaining, Engaging, and Educational, and the last is not through sermons but through the story and its narration. Ghoomer leaves you with the satisfaction of having watched a good film. ❤️

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Director: R. Balki
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Philosophy, Sports
More Movie Info

Don’t let the first 20-30 minutes fool you. The time spent on the set-up pays off by tying up everything neatly at the end. It entertains with its poor jokes and good ones. It engages with a story well told. It does its bit to educate the audience about gender and, of course, cricket. All of the above, with a caveat or two. But the sum of the flaws isn’t significant enough to affect the overall impact.

The thematic touches executed without much ado make Ghoomer a warm watch.

The progressive tone of the film is set up from the first scene. Ghoomer uses cliches to do this through the first half hour, making it a tad annoying. It’s not like the cliches dry up in the next two hours. But as I walked out of the theatre, the context given by the opening seemed ever more crucial. The sudden transformations of characters seem natural because of what we know about them through the initial framework.

Yet, one can wish that a woke film didn’t find a way other than fat-shaming to accentuate its feminism. The same goes for the eye-roll-worthy grand entry given to its star, Abhishek Bachchan. That was one of the few scenes that take you away from the story. Another one also involves Abhishek Bachchan. The man makes ‘cool’ look simple and ‘being difficult’ look so easy, but he cannot carry a monologue. Also, doesn’t help that his drunk character can only remind you of his father every few minutes, who is also in the film! Supposedly to add spunk but I found it gimmicky and/or an attempt to steal the real star’s thunder, Saiyami Kher.

Her character, Anina speaks little, which is why maybe I found Kher’s dialogue delivery slightly awkward. But boy, does she more than make up for it through her expressions and body language. She doesn’t need lines to pack a punch. The subtlety seems effortless even as Anina is working hard on the screen.

Similar finesse is seen in other departments too. Some directorial decisions add to the beauty like you witness the passage of time through light seeping in from under a door. The long training montage is well worth the time it takes, owing to the details that shape it up. Rarely do sequences like these feel like an integral part of the story. The same goes for the characters. Each one is consistent and flows/functions with the story. While the trans woman's inclusion could have used more nuance, the nature of their presence is heartening and on the right trajectory. I could have done with a little less of an a$$3#07e for a coach, even if he was the only person who didn’t patronise the protagonist. At the same time, by the end, his impudence seemed more a part of his character than an attempt to show that only rudeness gets results.

These thematic touches executed without much ado make Ghoomer a warm watch. Of course, the resilience of its lead character and the roll-out of the climax keep you hooked. However, that by the end, whether or not Anina’s team wins is truly irrelevant, is Ghoomer’s victory. Anina, cricket, and the film had already won by then.

- meeta, a part of the audience

27 reviewers(?) - 16 yays 10 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Ghoomer is a remarkably wry and humbug-free take on redeeming one’s soul after fate deals a low blow. Incredibly liberated from over-sentimentality its last thirty minutes on the cricket field are just delightful.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Life : ...All in all, R Balki wins this match for sure with his inspiring tale. Go watch the film for some motivation. It is a complete family entertainer.... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhimanyu Mathur, DNA : ...Over the last few years, Hindi cinema’s theatrical content has certainly not been up to the mark. Many films have felt like watered down versions of what we have already seen before. The story does not have to be new eac time, but the treatment must be. That’s what R Balki does with Ghoomer. Essentially, all underdog sports stories do follow the same arc. It’s how you present it that makes the difference. With Ghoomer, R Balki gives that much-needed fresh and well-made film. Just be ready to shed a few tears when you watch it!... full review

Thumbs up, by Utkarsha Shriwasva, DNA : ...परफॉर्मेंस की बात करें तो इस फिल्म के लिए सैयामी खेर और अभिषेक बच्चन से बेहतर कास्टिंग नहीं हो सकती थी. सैयामी की डायलॉग डिलिवरी थोड़ी बेहतर हो सकती थी लेकिन वो अपने एक्टिंग टैलेंट से दर्शकों को बांधे रखती हैं. अभिषेक बच्चन एक बार फिर से बेहतरीन अभिनय का नमूना पेश करते हैं. पहले वो ऐसे पूर्व क्रिकेटर दिखते हैं जिसे पसंद नहीं किया जा सकता लेकिन वो धीरे- धीरे आपके पसंदीदा किरदार बन जाते हैं. फिल्म में अंगद बेदी ने भी शानदार काम किया है. इसके अलावा अमिताभ बच्चन का कैमियो भी शानदार है.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Watch the film for its lovely message and for the powerful performances by the two leads, Abhishek Bachchan and Saiyami Kher.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aakash Kumar, Filmi Beat : ...Ghoomer is more than just a sports drama; it's a celebration of the human spirit's unbeatable will. With its compelling performances, poignant storytelling, and a message of unwavering determination, Ghoomer is a good watch for those seeking a cinematic experience that resonates long after the credits roll.... full review

Thumbs up, by Lachmi Deb Roy, FirstPost : ...Ghoomer is an inspiration from the real-life story of the late Hungarian shooter Karoly Takacs, who won a gold medal in the rapid fire pistol event at the 1948 London Olympics with his left hand after his other hand was seriously injured. The film teaches you to dream big and it is the faith in your dreams that will give it a start. So, believe in yourself first and in those who have belief in you!... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...With Ghoomer, the case is different. It’s a safer film since cricket is an emotion in India. The story of a disabled girl is well touted to raise eyebrows. It could have gone wrong, but Balki is a genius technically. He beautifully weaves his own style into the entire chronicle. Though there are a couple of things that are flawed, they still can be overlooked since his intent is crystal clear. The film also raises a question against a religious belief which logically is imperfect but again, Balki gives a reasonable closure to it.... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, : ...Balki seems to have entered a new phase that's darker and more exciting than what we knew him for earlier. I have always been a fan (even when the films have been facile and underwhelming), but now, he may have just positioned himself at a place where the Balki-style glibness is giving way to Balki-style gravitas. Now that's a brand new spin. .... full review

Thumbs up, by Nitin Jain, : ...‘Ghoomer’ marks a milestone in Saiyami Kher and Abhishek Bachchan’s career, showcasing their remarkable journey to brilliance. It isn’t just a film; it’s a story that captures the moment, a cinematic experience into the world of cricket. It’s an expedition into the uncharted territories of human emotions, with Saiyami Kher proving to be the icing on the cake.... full review

Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Ghoomer will bowl you over with its inspiring story, intriguing screenplay, impressive performances and a smooth blend of entertainment and messaging that fills you with pride and a sense of fulfilment. A pure family entertainer to be enjoyed in theatres, the film doesn't disappoint in any department.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...The reverse, I suspect, is true for movies in theatres. Sometimes, people go to watch a film, because of the one before, that’s already lured them in! As we speak, there’s post-pandemic cheer at the cinemas (‘Barbenheimer’, ‘Rocky-Rani’, ‘Oh My Gadar’…). Wishing this well too.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Ghoomer may not be his best or top 3 work for me, but he made me believe again that he can never make a bad film. Ghoomer will make you believe that even overdramatic films can be good. All you need is one genius like R. Balki. As a whole, Ghoomer is an honest attempt at an unbelievable story, but it sails rock steadily with the help of fine performances, strong emotions, and R. Balki’s conviction.... full review

Thumbs up, Outlook India : ...'Ghoomer' isn't merely a film; it's a story that captures the moment. This film marks a milestone in Abhishek Bachchan's career, showcasing his remarkable journey to brilliance. 'Ghoomer' isn't just a cinematic experience into the world of cricket; it's an expedition into the uncharted territories of human emotions, supported by Saiyami Kher and Angad Bedi.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Sanap, Rediff : ...The result is this very efficient crowd-pleaser that puts a lump in the throat, a tear in the eyes, and a smile on the face, all at the same time.... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Your mind takes a sudden jolt when thinking, "What happens when everything's taken away from you in a span of few minutes? "Kisisay koi cheez bewaja cheeni jaye, woh galat hai." You can tell how obsessed Abhishek, Saiyami and Balki are about cricket while watching this one.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...Still, in the last minutes, the match comes to life and culminates in to a crescendo. Ghoomer needed more rousing moments like that.... full review

So-So, by Bhavana Agarwal, india today : ...Meanwhile, it was lovely to have Amitabh Bachchan in a cameo in the movie. The music justifies the emotions well. The movie is peppered with various tropes used in Balki’s direction, be it humour or emotional arcs. But despite a stellar battling lineup, if the top order fails (in this case the writing, the screenplay, and the actors), there is only so much the middle-order can do!... full review

So-So, by Anshul Gupta, India TV : ...Overall, the film is a good watch but not without its flaws. Balki's love for cricket is widely known, starting from his first film 'Cheeni Kum' and with the help of sports director Dhruv P Panjuani, the sport feels and looks authentic apart from the fake crowd noise. Ultimately, the film is about hope and staying resolute because when life gives you lemons, make a lemonade and drink it up.... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Ghoomer spins off the routine tropes from an ‘underdog to top dog’ movies based on sportspersons and lacks that one standout point that sets it apart from what we’ve already seen before.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...As for the film as a whole, if nothing else, it knows its target and gets there but with a bit too much of avoidable huffing and puffing.... full review

So-So, by Sonal Dedhia, : ...Ghoomer sticks to familiar ground as far as a sports film goes, Amidst all the faux sentimentality, we still get a protagonist that we can’t help rooting for. That is the film’s real success.... full review

So-So, by Isha Sharma, NewsBytes : ...Ghoomer had all the markings to become much better than what it is currently—its rousing finale can move you to tears (Amitabh Bachchan's appearance does the trick). However, if we have to keep awaiting the climax to finally feel something, then that says everything about the quality of the film. An experimental idea and a sincere approach, but Ghoomer never rises above mediocrity.... full review

So-So, by Avinash Lohana, Pinkvilla : ...Some verdicts are hard to give. While the heart leans towards the emotions, the mind is unable to completely ignore the flaws. In both situations, what stays consistent is the human connection with the overall story, and that I think is why you should watch Ghoomer.... full review

So-So, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...This is Balki’s style — at times, it becomes a bit too much — but here it impedes the flow of Ghoomer a lot less than some of his previous works.... full review

So-So, by Pratikshya Mishra, The Quint : ...With Saiyami Kher’s obvious efforts into understanding the visual language of the film and Abhishek Bachchan’s steady but effective act, Ghoomer ends up being an enjoyable watch, with its second half almost succeeding in steamrolling over the faults of the first.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...As the 134-minute movie’s ill-judged hero, Abhishek Bachchan glowers and grimaces his way through a few good lines and many groan-worthy scenes. Shabana Azmi, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and Angad Bedi are models of rectitude, all things considered.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A punch here, a slap there. An accident, some blood owing to the accident.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One lip-to-lip.
  • Concept: Human resilience
  • General Look and Feel: Crisp and real.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Ghoomer - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Music Director:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (1)

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Dear Meetu, I haven't watched it yet, but will surely do.
I've not seen Gadar 1 nor I will watch Gadar 2, but I was waiting for your Gadar 2 review

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