wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
The sharp dialogues support a fragmented plot. The smart visuals are accompanied by jarring background music. The story is neither about carrom nor about the communal riots. The movie is neither here nor there.Read more
Rugged and raw - the slums of Mumbai are on display. There's also foreplay with time taking us back and forth and back. It's slick. And the drama escalates to invite curiosity. All good. Then, why the disarray? Because you wait and wait for something to happen and it doesn't. Or it happens, but is so sudden that it seems completely out of place. Maybe that's the reality that the filmmakers talk about. Or maybe that's how drama was supposed to build. But, here it doesn't.
With a tagline that translates to "the fittest survives" you are constantly waiting for the film to peak. And the way the film is lit, shot, and edited, it holds promise. If the technicalities are good, there's hope that the story will catch up, right? Well, instead three and a half, different, promising threads take you nowhere.
From the name and the publicity you look forward to a good board of carrom. While, you are thankful that there are no last-minute comebacks, there is nothing for you to root for or pray against. There aren't even good ricochet shots. And at the end of it you realize that the carrom in the film could have been easily replaced by any other skill Surya, (Siddharth), the protagonist has. Oh and that expected metaphor of life / system / protagonist being the striker is bleh, to say the least.
You then look forward to the communal disharmony and the "different" angle that this particular story seems to have the potential for. Another hope brutally stoned to death. It's a mere backdrop not connected to the other limbs of the story.
You can seek condolence in the fact that you realize this only towards the end, so the going is still alright. Also, meanwhile you see this lovely friendship between Surya and his bum-chum, Zaid (Ankur Vikal) germinating. Both in their own way, aspiring to do better for themselves. One taking everything seriously; the other relentlessly smiling through life. One taking as a straight a road as circumstantially possible; the other not-so-straight. One losing spirit; the other never willing to say die. One courageous enough to openly fight the biggest goon around; the other doing the same except by cheating the goon.
Both actors play their characters mere functionally. And so does Anupam Kher, who's character, Inspector Farooq enters and exits the frame as per convenience only to represent the neutered law enforcement system. Even while he tells you that the most honest of police officers have to walk on a smalltime goon's corpse to get to the bigger fish, his role is very choppy and extremely disconnected. In this whole affair, the only actor who creates any kind of an impact is Aditya Pancholi as Jaleel. A whole lot of credit goes to his make-up artiste though.
As the proceedings go on Surya's voiceover tries to create a link in these disjointed bits but works only as much as a voiceover can. Sure, this one worked for me only partially, but that the parts that worked is a sign of hope from this team because they have a skill set in the technical department as a starting point. Also, I feel the story-telling is not that much of an issue as the story itself. Well, there's always a next time.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Prathna Tiwari, Bolly Spice : ...the cinematography and background score are highly impressive. Both these departments had been entrusted with extra responsibility because the style of Striker's story telling was very unique and required cinematography to be ultra real and raw.... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...Yet, this is neither a rags-to-success story of a national carrom champion (which it could’ve been). Nor is it a simplistic prequel to Satya’s Bhikhu Mhatre (that it seemed to be)... full review
Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ...'Striker' should strike a chord with today's audience. It deserves more attention than a usually small budget movie because it's topical in today's social tension prevailing in Mumbai. ... full review
So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...there isn’t the primal emotional satisfaction that we’d get from the kind of fiery drama that either of these plotlines could have birthed... full review
So-So, by Shweta Parande, Buzz18 : ...Actor Ankur Vikal who played the menacing Maman in Slumdog Millionaire, shines in Striker as well. His fun-loving, rangeela character complements Siddharth's soft-spoken, brooding Surya. ... full review
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Stealing the show, however, is Ankur Vikal who is extraordinary as the free-spirited, hyperactive Zaid. It's among the finest acting pieces you will see this year.... full review
So-So, by Sujoy, OneKnightStands.net : ...Aditya Pancholi’s scarfaced Jaleel Bhai is a bit confusing. The man has no sense of profit n loss. He is a bit of a maniac himself betting left, right and centre.... full review
So-So, by Khaled Mohammed, Passion for Cinema : ...The shift back from the 1992-’93 communal riots to an earlier decade is, alas, much too choppy. So at some point, you quit figuring out the logistics, to concentrate on the meat and potatoes of the story, and ignore the swirling gravy. Burp.... full review
Thumbs down, by Deepa Garimella, fullhyd.com : ...Siddharth is miscast. He's not "dirty" enough to be in a role like this, looking more like a youngster who'd rather hang out at Cafe Coffee Day.... full review
Thumbs down, by SpiceZee Bureau, Zee News : ...Others too have delivered decent performances, but the pace of the script is unbelievably slow, and ends up leaving the audience nothing but bored.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Surya (Siddharth) has agile fingers and a sharp brain fit for carrom. His neighborhood partly thrives on the gambling income that carrom generates. After much deliberation, he decides to cash in on his skills at the game.