The film explores the journey of former cricketer Pravin Tambe, who made his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals at the age of 41 without playing first-class cricket prior to that. The film starts with Indian head coach Rahul Dravid’s remarks about Tambe as a player signifying his passion on the cricket field and is quickly followed up by the narration of the leggie’s life by Chatterjee’s Rajat Sanyal, the sports journalist who never rated Tambe more than a gully cricketer.
The plot covers the underdog journey of Tambe who always had dreamt of playing the Ranji trophy for Mumbai as a kid. The cricketer started his club career by taking a chance to play as a wrongful substitute for the Orient Shipping team and later being a part of the company. During his time there, Tambe meets Ashish Vidyarthi’s Coach Paradkar who advises Tambe to bowl leg-spin as opposed to the medium pace he was bowling at that time and the cricketer is reluctant to do so as he is on the Ranji probable list. With the turn of events, Tambe again finds himself playing gully cricket while holding onto different day jobs and training with Paradkar on his leg-spin. Things fall into place as his former clubmate Abey Kuruvilla helped him to get into DY Patil Sports Academy as a player and later coach which paves the way for him to play for Rajasthan Royals.
The structure of the movie itself is reminiscent of Neeraj Pandey’s M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Similar to M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, this film also centres more around Tambe’s personal and struggling life than that of his successful career. Kiran Yadnyopavit has done a very good job with the script which delivers both laughs and concern about the lead. Jayprad Desai has done exceptionally well to keep the film as realistic and grounded as possible and not overly dramatizing. I have small nitpicking with the climax, we shall come to that later. Ghorakshnath Khande has done a stunning job to keep the film just at 130 minutes including credits.
Coming to the cast, Shreyas Talpade has just lived the role of Pravin Tambe. He has imbued the passion for cricket that Dravid describes Pravin Tambe as a player is. Anjali Patil and Ashish Vidyarthi both have very limited roles to thrive in as Pardakar and Tambe’s wife Vaishali respectively. They both did a very good job of portraying those roles. Rounding out the lead cast, Parambrata Chatterjee has portrayed an absolute jerk toward Tambe and had succeeded in making people despise him. The narration of the overall film by Chatterjee is refreshing as well.
The only nitpicking as I have mentioned above is the dramatization of Tambe’s IPL hattrick against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014. Having him portrayed as a rookie during the scene may have given a satisfactory conclusion has gone a full circle in narration with the musing dialogue of the film that Paradkar says to Tambe, “Pravin, life or match all you need is one good over”. Even though the hattrick is one of his greatest achievements in professional cricket, he had won the Champions League Golden Wicket the prior year and even his dream of playing the Ranji Trophy was fulfilled before that as well.
As the film’s narrator rightfully concluded, Pravin Tambe isn’t a hero because of his achievements on the field but for his passion and stubbornness to stay and play. In conclusion, I can very much recommend you all to watch this heartwarming inspirational feature. The film is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar in India, on Hulu in the USA, and on Hotstar wherever it’s available.