Critic’s Rating : 2.5 / 5
Ghani Movie Review : A decent sports drama that lacks freshness
Review: There have been some exceptional sports films made in South India in recent times. Be it Gowtam Tinnanuri’s Jersey or Pa. Ranjith’s Sarpatta Parambarai, these films manage to hook you from the get-go irrespective of your fondness or lack of it for sports. Be it the player’s personal lives or the politics that come with sport, films made in the past have managed to explore the facet well. Debutant Kiran Korrapati’s Ghani too has all the ingredients required, which is why it’s sad to see it swap substance for style.
In the world of Ghani, there was once a boxer called Vikramaditya from Andhra Pradesh who was passionate about the sport and even made it to the state boxing championship, only to be disgraced at nationals. Fifteen years later, his wife (Nadhiya) and son Ghani (Varun Tej Konidela) are still reeling from the aftermath. The former doesn’t want her son to be associated with anything that brought pain to their family; the latter however doesn’t know how to give up the sport. He tries everything from taking part in illegal boxing bouts to making it to the ring – only to find out the truth about his father. Will he manage to fulfil his father’s dream forms the crux of Ghani.
At the core of the film is a story that might be cliché but deserves to be treated with the kind of seriousness it deserves. Instead of doing that, debutant Kiran dilly-dallys with a peppy number, featuring a cliché love interest Maya (Saiee Manjrekar) and a special number, featuring Tamannaah Bhatia. In fact, he spends the whole of the first half of the film exploring not just Ghani’s dynamic with his parents but also a yawn-inducing love story that adds absolutely nothing to the story at hand. There are also other players in this tale. There’s Aadi (Naveen Chandra), the son of a rich businessman who wants to carve out his own identity. The founder of Indian Boxing League is Eeswar (Jagapathi Babu), who shares a past with Vikramaditya and Ghani. Kiran tries for a ‘big reveal’ in terms of Suniel Shetty and Nimma Upendra’s characters, but the attempt comes across as amateurish.
Ghani has a lot to offer when you look at the story but the narrative never manages to fully give in. Kiran does away with songs for the most part, barring the two numbers and two other songs used as a montage (composed by Thaman S), but the film at the end of it all does seem to just coast along instead of being the intense drama it sets out to be. Upendra’s character gets long lines and Varun gets punch dialogues but none of them seem to have the desired effect. The film’s length and the creative choice to keep most of the boxing matches only in the second half of the film also proves to be a hindrance.
Varun Tej has given better performances than he does in Ghani, but it’s not his fault because he doesn’t really get the scope to do so. His character is put in situations, truth is withheld from him and he seems to be the last person in a room to know anything – which gives him only the space to react. However, you do notice the hard work he has put in when it comes to his body or even the boxing scenes. Saiee’s role turns out to be inconsequential in the longer run and she does an okay job, whereas Nadhiya, Suniel and Uppendra breeze through theirs. Thaman’s music doesn’t leave much of an impression, barring the title song.
Ghani is a decent sports drama, but that’s all it ends up being – decent. The film doesn’t provide anything you haven’t seen before. Watch it this weekend if sports dramas are your thing, but with expectations in check.