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Medal Is  The Perfect Punjabi  Potboiler 




Medal(Punjabi, Prime Video)

Rating: ***

Director Maneesh Bhatt’s Medal is not interested  in aesthetic  niceties. Straightaway it plunges into its  energetic,  some  would say, crude domain of  mass entertainment, and succeeds in playing to the galleries  far  better than  other recent  mass entertainers in  any language.

Medal belongs to the Anil Sharma, Guddu Dhanoa , Raj Kanwar school of  filmmaking. It is the story  of an innocent ambitious sportsperson who when pushed to the wall emerges as a gangster.

That  exact moment whem Raja(Jayy Randhawa) shifts gears from sports to slaying is brilliantly choreographed . The clinching fight in a jail compound where  Raja imprisoned for  no fault of his own, hitherto  bullied and  assaulted by the jail inmates, suddenly does a somersault from P T Usha to Abu Salem is designed as a  blood-soaked battle in a  prison courtyard.

It is a work of kitch art, done with  the meticulous  vision of a director who knows  just where and when to get  his audience  by their collective jowls.

Randhawa’s Raja’s transformation is not explained in terms of the physical strength that he suddenly invests into his character’s  changed destiny. All we know is that when a innocent law-abiding citizen is pushed  to the wall his soul will ricochet. To that extent, Medal is worth its weight on molten gold.

It is  fast paced and unnerving in its conviction that a Good Man is just a hair’s breadth away from the  other side.The  writing(by Jassi Lohka) is  italized in its emotions. The storytelling is punctuated by high moments of  melodrama.Raja’s police torture where they brand his chest with a  medal, is chilling even though it is done  in such cringe-worthy broad strokes.

For some some strange  reason. I thought of  Vetrimaaran’s Tamil film Visaranai, although all the vital organs  of the two  films are as  dissimilar as  can be. Nonetheless brutality and its aftermath need no specific language.

Medal sucks us into  Raja’s  damnation. It flings us into his world of karmic retribution and tells us in no uncertain terms that the meek shall NOT inherit the  earth.Jayy Randhawa’s  conversion from  Gandhian to egalitarian is  convincing and quite often, engaging.

Of course  the film is  crude. But it has  a heart swelling and spilling over  with anger and injustice .

I am told  the film is based  on  a real character.It might as well be. All revolutions are born in a  mood of aggression. I won’t go as far as to call Medal revolutionary(in fact it bows to the  most basic traditions of our filmmaking). But there is a  certain authenticity to its alarmist tone.

As you sow so you shall reap, goes the adage. Medal seems to know that you can’t make  an omelette without breaking eggs. And to hell with niceties.

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