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A grumpy boxing coach takes on a young, rebellious woman under his wings and starts training her for the world championship. But their biggest battle has to be fought outside the ring.

It is inevitable that a sports film will hew to a certain formula — the discovery of an extraordinary talent, the practice montage, the challenges on and off the field, the grand finale with an outcome that could either be rousing or downbeat. So, it is not surprising that the outlines of Irudhi Suttru, a boxing drama, are familiar. We have a grumpy coach, a rebellious student, politics from the sport’s administrators, jealousy from rivals and a tense climactic bout. But what makes the film stand out is how superbly the director, Sudha Kongara uses these plot points to paint her canvas.

The film begins with Prabhu (Madhavan), a once-promising boxer failed by the system and now a no-nonsense coach, being forced to move to Chennai due to internal politics in the boxing association. In Chennai, Prabhu comes across Madhi (Ritika Singh), a rowdy fisherwoman who has a natural flair for boxing, and whose sister, Lakshmi (Mumtaz Sorcar) is training for the boxing championship. Prabhu offers to teach the hot-headed Madhi, who is enthusiastic about the sport but is put off by the coach’s stern attitude. The two warm up to each other and Madhi even develops a crush on Prabhu. But there are forces that threaten to derail both their dreams.

The writing is strong for the most parts of Irudhi Suttru and the excellent cast effortlessly conveys the various shades of their characters. The beefed-up Madhavan might be the film’s anchor but it is the pocket-sized dynamo Ritika’s performance that gives it its punch. The supporting cast is superb. We know what Nasser and Radha Ravi are capable of, but Kaali Venkat, as the girls’ drunkard father who converts to Christianity just to make a few bucks, manages to overtake these veterans with his finely-calibrated performance. If there is a chink in the armour, it is the characterisation of the antagonist, Dev, who is one-note and cliched. And the (type)casting of Zakir Hussain for this role doesn’t help either.

The little touches, like the observation on Chennai’s poster culture (one of the posters welcoming Prabhu calls him ‘Boxing Loin’!), the fact that Madhi’s mother is a north Indian, that Madhi is a fan of Dhanush, the relationship between Radha Ravi and Madhavan, the explanation Lakshmi gets for why Prabhu prefers Madhi, add a bit of quirkiness to the tale. The fight scenes are also tensely choreographed and are plausible unlike the over-the-top boxing scenes that we saw recently in Bhooloham. But it is the relationship between Prabhu and Madhi is what drives the film and the director makes it amply clear that she needs him as much as he needs her. Their scenes have a charge that keeps us hooked and it is only when Prabhu disappears for a brief while in the second half that we understand how crucial their scenes together are for the film. On the whole, it might not deliver a knockout punch, but Irudhi Suttru manages to land punches that constantly surprise us (the rousing climax ensures that we walk out with a smile) and in a good way.
Source TMDb

> One can only show their passion for something, it’s the others who are able to see their talent.

Inspired by the boxing culture of the north Chennai. It tells how Indians took the sport in their hand and mastered it, specially this film focused on the women boxing. It is definitely a confident boosting film if you are an ambitious sportsperson. But looks like its for adults due to too much use of the rude language. That really did surprise me, because it is expected for a Bollywood film, but Kollywood has a different culture and it was very strong.

It was not actually about Madhavan, he was just a coach like sharookan from ‘Chak de India’. So it is about a young girl named Madhi, who hailed from a poor fisher family. Without any education and social manners, how she makes her fortune turnaround after a new chief boxing coach finds her passion and skill towards the sport. The remaining narration is all about her journey from the slum to the boxing championship.

It kind of reminded me the story of a flower girl from the streets who makes to the high society in the film ‘My Fair Lady’. Except here, it was replaced by the boxing. With a bit of romance, music/musical, humours, as well as rivalries and corruption this film is a quite entertaining. Well directed film, but I’m slightly not happy with the screenplay. Because, no doubt, it is a fine theme yet too much localised for domestic market. As a result, if you’re an International audience, there’s an issue to understand the culture and language translation the loses its originality in the subtitle.

And one more thing is that the background score was good, but disappointing songs, though its video was decent. Awesome performances, especially by Ritika Singh, and Madhavan. The tale was told from his perspective, but Ritika takes the lead with her skillful show in the both, acting and boxing. For the Indians it is surely a must see and one of the best sports films in the recent time, but for the rest of the world, it falls into a decent category.

Source TMDb

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