Striker poster


wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

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.

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Director: Chandan Arora
Running time: 130 minutes
Genres: Crime
More Movie Info

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

30 reviewers(?) - 13 yays 11 so-so 6 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, AOL INDIA : ...The performances keep us moving, kicking and dragging with the seamless unpunctuated narrative. ... full review

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 Susan Jose, India-Forums : ...The scenes between Surya and Noorie (Nicolette Bird) during their very short-lived romance is sweet and at times funny. ... full review

Thumbs up, indiatimes : ... the real hero of the film is Malvani, the ghetto... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...The era is very authentic in Arora’s frames.... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ... The acting honours in this movie definitely belong to Siddharth. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Magik, Passion for Cinema : ...The punch hits someone but you can feel the pain, someone else is bleeding, but you are hurt. Reality never got any real... full review

Thumbs up, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...Chandan Arora once again proves to be an authentic director and great a story teller. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sampurn, real bollywoood : ...Siddharth is nothing short of excellent in the film.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...An astutely-penned drama for most part it's not entirely devoid of hiccups. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, : ...'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

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...The high point of the film is its authenticity, its heartwarming tale and its performances.... full review

So-So, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Yet, none of these assorted parts mesh in to make one organic, seamless whole that could grip you by the gut... 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 Martin D'Souza, : ...Siddharth as Surya fits into the common man mould but at times tries hard to be the part unlike Ankur and Aditya. ... full review

So-So, Gyanguru : ...Padmapriya and Nicolette Bird (Noorie) did the roles well but they were hardly there in the film.... 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 Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...Siddharth looks far too polished to be a slum kid but then so did Dev Patel's Jamal... full review

So-So, : ...Producer-director Chandan Arora makes a fruitful attempt in story telling technique and manages to keep the audience watching. ... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Arora’s tutelage under Ram Gopal Varma shows in the numerous intriguingly grim faces that pop into the frame. ... full review

So-So, by Sujoy, : ...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 Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...The songs are just fine as they don’t become an obstacle in the movie but background score catches your attention more.... full review

Thumbs down, by Daliya Ghose, Bollywood Mantra : ... Siddharth’s acting was superb. Aditya Pancholi played his part well. Anupam Kher was ok.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Garimella, : ...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 Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The story that starts off on a promising note but goes horribly wrong towards the end. ... full review

Thumbs down, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ... Aditya Panscholi, who plays the part of the local crook in Malwani, Jaleel, comes out a winner in this depiction of a mean person.... 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

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 1 yays 2 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by LowerB

So-So, by Aliefsfaisove

So-So, by wedeSkymmew

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

Plot Summary

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.

What Worked

  • The Surya-Noorie romance.
  • The fact that Madhu's backstory is narrated by two photographs placed as a part of the frame, without emphasizing or distracting.
  • The world of carrom in the slums presented at the beginning of the film. As if it were a military training ground.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Where does the other sister go? How come she doesn't show up again ever?
  • What exactly convinces Surya to take up a career as a carrom "kheli"?


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Ok, will someone tell me, why a girl trying on bangles at a roadside bangle-shop is such a charmer for every Indian hero?
  • However appropriate the shirts might be for a guy from the slums, I don't remember a single shirt of his being repeated. Fancy slum boy this.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Hoodlums beating up each other and a flavor of communal riots runs through the film. A brutal murder is on display too.
  • Language: a few abusive words here and there, but the language is harsh throughout.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A sort-of rape scene.
  • Concept: That of gambling, lifestyle of gangsters in the slums of Mumbai and people causing communal riots.
  • General Look and Feel: Grim and brown.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Striker - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
130 minutes

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