Goal

Think
of sports-based films made in India and visuals of lagaan and chak de
india flash across your mind. Will Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal fall in the
same league as these immensely popular flicks, is one vital question
that crosses your mind as the reels of UTV’s new sport-based film
[their second this year, after HATTRICK] Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal are about
to unfold.

Goal is a simple story that packs not just the sport, but also
dabbles with issues like racism and fanaticism associated with this
sport. Issues that Westerners can relate to more than Indians,
especially racial discrimination.

As a film, Goal has its share of highs and lows. If the first hour
is strictly okay, the pendulum swings in its favour in the second hour
— in the last 20 minutes, to be precise. The sport succeeds in arousing
patriotic feelings, besides involving the viewer in the fight-to-finish
finale.

Conversely,
there are times when you feel that the film falls back on the
predictable, tried-n-tested mundane stuff. And packs in something
[’Billo’, the song] that’s just not in sync with the mood of the film.

To sum up, Goal is a simple story, well told. Notwithstanding the
hiccups, this film hits a Goal, courtesy its brilliantly executed
finale.

Southall United Football Club is facing its deepest crisis ever.
Bankrupt, with no stars, no coach, no sponsors, no takers, no
spectators and most importantly, no owner. After the City Council sends
an eviction notice, it’s the last chance to save the ground, the club
and their honour. Shaan [Arshad Warsi] takes up the challenge to save
the club from extinction. After a disesteemed ex-player, Tony Singh
[Boman Irani], joins them as the coach, Shaan and he begin work to
gather the worn out team.

Sunny’s [ John Abraham ] dreams to play for England crashes after
his club does not select him. The reason is apparently not his game,
but the colour of his skin. Sunny and Shaan never see eye to eye.
Adding to their personal chaos is Shaan’s cousin sister Rumana [
Bipasha Basu ], who is in love with Sunny.

Tony
manages to convince Sunny to play for Southall United. It takes a while
before Shaan and the team warms up to Sunny. With Sunny joining
Southall United, the team gradually starts climbing the points tally.
The City Council is worried. Johny Bakshi [Dalip Tahil], a commentator
and a frontman of the Council, plans to lure Sunny away from Southall
United.

Director Vivek Agnihotri combines style and substance in his second
outing Goal. Take the sequence at the very start, when an English woman
and her frontman [Dalip Tahil] reveal their plans of coming up with a
shopping complex on the ground. The director opens the cards at the
very outset. But the narrative dips, rises, hits a low and ascends
unfailingly till the first hour ends. The sequence prior to the
intermission — at the Manchester United Stadium — leaves you awe-struck
and makes you look forward to a powerful second hour.

Fortunately, the drama only gets exciting in the post-interval hour.
The cold vibes that Arshad and John share as also John’s volte-face,
when he decides to abandon his club for the riches, give the film that
extra dimension, camouflaging the defects that raised their head not
too long back. The film dips at times in this hour too, but the journey
to the finale is well structured. Yes, John’s change of heart is
slightly filmy and cliched, but the climax is astounding. The
penultimate 20 minutes in the stadium are awe-inspiring and that’s what
you carry back home.

Vivek Agnihotri knows what he’s talking and though you know that he
got swayed by technique in his very first film chocolate, in Goal, he
never lets technique overpower content. The story is simple, but
absorbing and presented stylishly. He’s truly evolved into a fine
storyteller.

There’re just two songs in the narrative — the anthem Dhan Dhana
Dhan Goal/excellent and ‘Billo’/well-tuned, but the mujra doesn’t go
well with the mood of the film. Attar Singh Saini’s cinematography is
striking. The camera movements — so difficult in a film like this — are
exemplary.

Both John and Arshad are the ‘Men of the Match’. John is a
revelation. Wrongly dubbed as a clotheshorse in his earlier films, he
hits a goal in Goal. John lends the right texture to his character. He
not only looks right for the part, but also plays the sport like a pro.
Goal should occupy the top slot in his body of work!

Arshad
Warsi is superb. An incredibly talented actor whose versatility speaks
volumes. Cast in a sober, serious role this time, Arshad enacts the
part with as much ease as he portrayed Circuit. Bipasha Basu may not
have a lengthy role, but she adds zing to the goings-on as and when she
appears. Her love story with John is really cute.

Boman Irani is top notch. Note his roar at the intermission point or
the uneasiness he displays whenever his team locks horns with the
rivals on field. It’s a flawless performance. Raj Zutshi is first-rate.
Dalip Tahil carries the venomous part well. The actor enacting the role
of Arshad’s wife does a commendable job.

On the whole, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal has an ordinary first hour, but
the post-interval portions, especially the exhilarating climax, makes
up for everything. At the box-office, the producers [UTV] have already
recovered the cost of production from various sales and in-film
advertising. The theatrical business will only add to the booty,
considering the film has the merits to work with moviegoers. Another
factor that goes in its favour — and it’s an important one — is the
fact that the moviegoers haven”t seen a new release post-Diwali. That
should reap dhan for Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal.

2.5/5

121

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