At times,some films are destined to attain commercial success without probably anything novel to tell. Its an age old formula for any producer to bank on something commercial rather than attempting to convey a proper story. Films such as Dabangg, Wanted (not that I hate Salman) hog the limelight so much that they seem to kill those small budgeted well packed films. Not that I’m against commercial films or starry affairs, its just that the actors of the latter get a raw deal from the industries. Though a release date could prove crucial to a film’s destiny, it mustn’t decide or foretell its fate altogether. Well my heart pounds with excitement when I see films like Striker that came and sank without a trace. Its an engaging drama journeying a ‘striker’ Surya’s life with situations that keep you intrigued.
Jaleel rules the roost in Malwani, a small area in Mumbai that accommodates the needs of an average common man who sweats each day for every penny he earns. While the former controls the area, our main protagonist Surya lives a self sufficient life relishing his desires and hanging around with his friends more so a friend named Zaid. Surya and his elder brother have always had a penchant for playing carroms since childhood and they revel in it. Opportunities knock their door big time but the elder one doesn’t make it count. Despite the failure of his brother, Surya is no mood to let it pass by without an attempt. He’s desperate to cash in through his affinity with the indoor sport. He grows big and conflicts himself and his ideals many a time. He gambles, he fumbles but he isn’t there to leave without a mark. His friend Zaid who is always the one flirting with danger though using situations to his advantage . Both learn their lessons the hard way out as life always has a shock and surprise in store for them one after the other.
When narrating an episode of a characters life, one mistake the directors commit is to be obsessed with the main protagonist ,sidelining the other characters in the narrative. Here the maker survives on that count but he fails to continuously engage a viewer by trying to package many elements in the 2 hours available. The situations do have enough credibility but sometimes their potential is undernourished and in some cases the other way round. You have an unripe love plot, a stereotypical climax that leaves the audiences in ambiguity for a while. The director had a captivating script on hand, no second thoughts about that but some of the characters fail to develop an emotional connect so necessary to lend pace and soul to the story. So its a mixed bag and after all its flaws too, it keeps you hooked for most sequences.
Coming to the performances, its completely Siddharth’s show all the way carrying the film on his very own shoulders. His performance has enough vulnerability and a dignity that a complex character had demanded. He once again has showed his range as an actor drifting apart from his cozy lover boy image that he is so much used to. He is and has always been a directors delight. Aditya Pancholi as an antagonist is menacing but his characterization is too hackneyed to raise any eyebrows. Vidya Malwade though reduced to a limited screen time tries to make her presence felt. Among the others, Anupam Kher, Zaid and Padma Priya deliver neat performances respectively.
The dialogues are embodied with fierceness and aid well for a handful of sequences. The music fails to leave a mark in the film with a tame background score that lets down the intensity of the situation at times. The movie despite its tight budgeting manages to put up a decent technical display though letdown by languorous editing. The director Chandan Arora who had come up with innovative works like Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and Main Meri Patni Aur Woh experiments well with a slick theme. Set in the streets of Mumbai in the late 80’s, its an open take on various discrepancies in a society that’s marred by communal disturbances. It does narrate a significant and a brave story though it takes time to interest a viewer. An experiment worth to take notice, Striker isn’t a winner hands down but a decent one to hang on for serious film buffs.
My Take: 3.25/5