Ladies First Review: Here is Why The Deepika Kumari Documentary Falls Short!

Documentary: Ladies First

Rating: ** ½ (two and a  half stars)

There is so much that one expects from the  sharp-shooting archer Deepika Kumari story as told in the terse and brief documuntery Ladies First.

Some of Bollywood’s names  have been recommending the film by  Uraaz Bahl.

While the idea of  celebrating the  rise  from the ashes of abject poverty and  crippling prejudices  of one of India’s most accomplished female sportpersons, is indeed laudable, the documentary left me with more questions than answers. At less than 40 minutes of playing time, Deepika’s rise from an impoverished background inJharkhand to the No. 1 archer in India, barely gets a decent spread-out in the narrative.

Everything is done in a  a  rush,and a  hush. We  never get to know Deepika’s inner feeling as she struggled against  gender prejudices and her  destiny of poverty.It’s like getting vivid glimpses  of landscape from a  moving train.

 Beating  all the odds, is a great  hookline for a motivational life-story. But where  is the breathing space  for  the saga to grow? The pace  is way too hurried to allow us to enter Deepika’s  psyche, except for one  moving meltdown towards the end where she talks about how unfair  the nation is to sportspersons who fail to make the big win at the Olympics.

It is here that  I realized  that Ladies First is actually about the grace required by the sportsperson as well as  the public to accept defeat as part of the cycle of victory.

Deepika Kumari doesn’t say  so. But we come across as a  nation of spoilsports  who worship only success and the successful. Ladies First  tells us why it is important to respect those who represent us at  international sporting events, irrespective of whether  they actually bring in the medal. Lamentably  the  message is put forward in a profile that’s way too sketchy and skimpy. More fleshing-out of Deepika’s background and  more conversations delving into her  fight against poverty and prejudice would have made Ladies First a documentary worthy  of its  distinguished subject.

Ladies First  doesn’t shoot its arrow half as directly as  Deepika Kumari.

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