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Saand Ki Aankh Movie Review: Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar Give Never Less Than Credible Film Their Best Shot

Saand Ki Aankh Movie Review: It isn't easy playing 60 when you are 30. Taapsee and Bhumi work hard to rise above the downsides

Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar, Prakahs Jha, Viineet Kumar Singh, Sara Arjun Director: Tushar Hiranandani

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Helmed by Tushar Hiranandani, scripted by Balwinder Singh Janjua, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, edited by Devendra Murdeshwar and lensed by Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti, Saand Ki Aankh is a uncompromisingly women-centric film made by a team composed predominantly of men. But that isn't the only reason why it is a bit of a marvel. More important, it shows up overheated Bollywood dramas about women battling gender prejudice as well as bloated biopics that seek to celebrate female mould-breakers.

To be sure, Saand Ki Aankh is a conventional underdog drama. It isn't the most subtle sports film you have ever seen nor is it the most crisply cut. Portions of the film could have been easily done away with without undermining the impact of its substance and message. But Saand Ki Aankh is of a timbre that instantly sets it apart from run-of-the-mill feminist stories. The film blends dollops of infectious vitality with occasional thought-inducing pauses to narrate a rousing true story of two pathbreaking grandmothers who, two decades ago in the boondocks of Uttar Pradesh, dared to break free from the shackles of patriarchy and rise to prominence in a male-dominated sport.

Like its plucky sexagenarian protagonists, Saand Ki Aankh shoots straight and sharp. It has a pointed quality that saws off most of the rough edges that such sagas coming out of Mumbai and other Indian film production centres tend to acquire because they work with convenient binaries and facile divides to squeeze high-pitched drama out of the clash between daunting societal odds and irrepressible individual dreams, and between the might of the persecutor and the doggedness of the suppressed.

Chandro and Prakashi's story would have been dismissed as too fanciful if it hadn't happened in real life. The screenwriter and the debutant director - nothing that Hiranandani, writer of slapstick comedies such as Housefull, the Masti series and the Dhamaal series, has done so far could have prepared us for Saand Ki Aankh - do a great job of tapping into the tangible dimensions of the tale and blending it with dramatic flourishes and passages that play to the gallery, most of which work.

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