Documentary: Ladies First
Rating: ** (two and ahalf stars)
There is so much that one expects from thesharp-shooting archerDeepikaKumaristory as told in the terse and briefdocumunteryLadies First.
Some of Bollywoods nameshave been recommending the film byUraazBahl.
While the idea ofcelebrating therisefrom the ashes of abject poverty andcrippling prejudicesof one of Indias most accomplished femalesportpersons, is indeed laudable, the documentary left me with more questions than answers. At less than 40 minutes of playing time, Deepikas rise from an impoverished background inJharkhandto the No. 1 archer in India, barely gets a decent spread-out in the narrative.
Everything is done in aarush,and ahush. Wenever get to know Deepikas inner feeling as she struggled againstgender prejudices and herdestiny of poverty.Its like getting vivid glimpsesof landscape from amoving train.
Beatingall the odds, is a greathooklinefor a motivational life-story. But whereis the breathing spaceforthe saga to grow? The paceis way too hurried to allow us to enter Deepikaspsyche, except for onemoving meltdown towards the end where she talks about how unfairthe nation is tosportspersonswho fail to make thebig win at the Olympics.
It is here thatI realizedthatLadies Firstis actually about the grace required by the sportsperson as well asthe public to accept defeat as part of the cycle of victory.
DeepikaKumaridoesnt sayso. But we come across as anation of spoilsportswho worship only success and the successful.Ladies Firsttells us why it is important to respect those who represent us atinternational sporting events, irrespective of whetherthey actually bring in the medal. Lamentablythemessage is put forward in a profile thats way too sketchy and skimpy. More fleshing-out of Deepikas background andmore conversations delving into herfight against poverty and prejudice would have madeLadies Firsta documentary worthyof itsdistinguished subject.
Ladies Firstdoesnt shoot its arrow half as directly asDeepikaKumari.
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