Saala Khadoos “SAALA KHADOOS” is heartfelt but flawed! With a riveting screenplay, short runtime and its heart at the right place, this film makes for a good one-time watch. But its melodramatic undertone, iterated theme and farfetched developments hold it from achieving the pinnacle it set out for. Nevertheless, worth a watch this weekend! Adi Tomar (Madhavan) had a dream to win the boxing gold for India. Instead, he languished in a nightmare for a decade as his gloves were spiked during an all-important match, blinding him in the arena and handing the match to his undeserving opponent. Shattered by his loss, and disillusioned by the state of Indian boxing, Adi turned to a life of cynical self-destruction of booze, brothels and bar-fights. Loyal friends somehow bring him back to boxing as the coach of the lowly rated Indian women's boxing team. But Adi continues to dream for a free-spirited, fiery young woman from the fishing community, Madhi (Ritika Singh). Adi spots in her a champion that could bring India the gold that he was robbed off. But first Adi must earn her trust, then tame her hotheadedness and finally make her dream all this in just nine months before the world championship. And so begins an uneasy partnership between a man who loves his sport and a girl who loves her freedom. Rigor and rebellion, structure and free spirit collide. It is the beginning of a beautiful friendship and a journey towards an impossible dream. Adeptly portraying the scene in the sporting arena, the film is sensible in more ways than one. However, director Sudha Kongara Prasad frequently enters the territory of wishful melodrama which reduces the fervour from a lot of the proceedings. The impactful passion of say a “Chak De” is sorely missed. The film has much to like. It has a heart and soul. The brash tone is quite sport-like, helping the cause of the film. The pacing too is appropriate and so is the duration of the film. Technically the film is competitive, with great camera shots especially during fight scenes. Alas, the impact of it all is reduced considerably by the thumping extravagance in drama where action is more salient than characterization. The clichéd feel of the enterprise is also a culprit here. We’ve seen this theme umpteen times now, making it all too predictable, albeit interesting while it lasts. The songs also interrupt the screenplay. The performances are a big draw. Madhavan is quite convincing as the passionate coach with a devil-may-care attitude. His shabby looks go with the character and he pulls it off with great panache. But it’s Ritika Singh who’s the real star here. She carries her cheeky character perfectly and gives a truly compelling performance. Hr emotions are contagious and she manages to stay consistently riveting. The rest of the cast is quite competent, while staying within the constraints of the flawed screenplay. In all, SAALA KHADOOS is likeable, despite its shortcomings. While far from path breaking, it can be recommended as a good pastime for 110 minutes of your weekend time. Watchable!