Shabaash Mithu Movie Review Rating: 3/5
Shabaash Mithu has been in the news even before the makers officially announced the film. It is a biopic on former Test and ODI captain of the India women’s national cricket team, Mithali Raj. Taapsee Pannu essays the titular role in the film. It marks her return to the big screen after a long gap. Pannu’s last theatrical release was Thappad which entered cinemas in 2020, weeks before the coronavirus-induced lockdown brought life to a complete standstill. Having said that, the actress had several direct-to-digital releases during the said period. Some of her OTT releases like Haseen Dillruba and Looop Lapeta received a thunderous response on digital platforms. It will be interesting to see what fate her first release in two years – Shabaash Mithu – meets at the box office.
STORY: Born into a Tamil family in Hyderabad, Mithali Dorai Raj (Taapsee Pannu) is a Bharatanatyam enthusiast, but she loves cricket. She starts playing the sport with one of her friends, Noorie. One fine day, coach Sampath (Vijay Raaz) spots her and convinces her to pick up a bat. As time flies by, Mithali becomes the captain of India’s women’s national cricket team. However, she faces tons of challenges and roadblocks before putting the women’s cricket team into the spotlight in a world that has worshiped men-in-blue for decades.
HIGHS: Taapsee Pannu in the role of the protagonist shines bright. The actress has given her heart and soul to portray this character and you can see her hunger to portray it to perfection in every single frame. The best thing about her performance is that she does not mimic the cricketer at any point in the film. She gives it her own touch, her own personality. She also nails it when it comes to showing her skills as an actress on the field playing out the cricket portions.
Vijay Raaz essays the role of a strict coach to perfection. He has got some of the best scenes to perform and he never disappoints. Mumtaz Sorcar as Jhulan Goswami is a delight to watch on the screen. She has copied Goswami’s bowling action perfectly. Other cast members also do their job well.
LOWS: We have seen so many sports biopics over the past few years that now every sports biopic looks the same. The same goes for Shabaash Mithu. It is inundated with obvious clichés of a sports biopic. There are plentiful sequences that resemble things that we have already seen on the big screen multiple times. While the first half of the film is really great, the narrative starts getting boring and repetitive in the second half. With a runtime of two hours and thirty-six minutes, the film tends to become a bit monotonous.
The film tries to capture Mithali Raj’s journey right from her childhood to 2017, yet several important milestones of her storied career have not been taken into consideration. For example, she was conferred with Arjuna Award in 2003 and the Padma Shri in 2015, but you do not see that getting highlighted in the film.
FINAL VERDICT: The film deserves at least one watch in cinemas simply because Taapsee Pannu hits the ball out of the park as Mithali Raj. She looks convincing in every scene. You just cannot overlook her hard work and dedication. I am going with 3 stars.
Watch Shabaash Mithu trailer:
Banner: Viacom18 Studios, Colosceum Media
Director: Srijit Mukherji
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Mumtaz Sorcar, Vijay Raaz
Runtime: 136 Minutes