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800,  The  Biopic That Tells Us Why We Must Stop Making Films On Gangsters  &  Sociopaths




800 ( Hindi)

Rating: *** ½

Enough!  Let’s not waste time making or watching biopics on  gangsters  and criminals. Writer-director  M.S Sripathy’s  800  tells us why. A biopic burnished in unassuming emotions,it is the story of  Sri Lankan cricketer  Muttiah Muralitharan who  took an unprecedented  number  of wickets, thereby creating history.

This commendable  film on Muttiah Muralitharan’s life  and  game,doesn’t quite create history.  But it, well, bowls  you over  with its  unflinching determination  to tell the truth about what it means to be a Tamilian  Sri Lankan cricketer(that’s  three levels  of  hurdle  already huddled in a corner for our hero to  overcome).

800 is  a work of  uninterrupted  sincerity. The  actors, their accents  and the locations  where  Muralitharan’s  journey  unfolds are  so artless, it would be heartless to  utter a  word against the charming endeavour.Thankfully, the  Caucasian actors playing Australian  members of the cricket board  are  not tourists  picked up from India Gate.

There  is  no denying every actors and technician’s commitment to nailing Muralitharan’s  inspiring journey from ethnic violence to  resounding victory,  none more so  than Madhur Mittal  for whom this  film is  game-changer. Mittal  not only owns Muralitharan’s  character, he gets the body language of the   protagonist so accurately, it seems the real and reel characters  can comfortably  be  part  of an exchange programme.

My favourite  sequence  has  Mittal’s Muralitharan being disallowed   from entering  a  night club  without  shoes.A hostile player  comes forward to play Cinderella. It is  a  touching moment  of  camaraderie that  tells us how and why cricket binds the world together even as it tears the players apart  on  the  field.

I am sure Muralitharan faced  a lot more obstacles than a pair of  shoes.The film confronts  all his awkwardness . But still seems  sanitized for  mass consumption. And that’s not a bad thing when  dealing with a  controversial but motivating  subject.

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