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Telugu Film A1 Express Gives Sundeep Kishan A Chance To Champion Hockey

A1 Express

Starring  Sundeep Kishan and Lavanya Tripathi while Murali Sharma and Rao Ramesh

Directed  by Dennis Jeevan & Kanukolanu

Rating: ***

In real  life  and movies,hockey has  always  got the wrong end of the stick. Just the  fact that a Telugu film celebrating the  neglected  national sport, and also delving into the politics that colours  and  compromises  all  sports and games in our country,  is pitched into the commercial arena is  gratifying enough.

A1 Express  gives to the definition of  ‘Commonwealth Games’ an ironic  colour. While  sports persons  die in penury the  movers and shakers playing their own games  from behind the  field, dig  into the  their  ill-earned wealth .This is  no country for professional sportsmanship.

This week’s   big Telugu release   delves into all of the above. There is a disgraced  national hockey champ Sundeep Reddy(Sundeep Kishan). He is  very angry. But we don’t get to see his wrath  until much later.A major part   of the first-half goes  into Sundeep’s courtship of  a fiery provincial  hockey player Lavanya(Tripathi). Sundeep seems to have little to do  except  faff around with his  hanger-on  , tail the  hockey-playing chick  until it all begins to  get a annoying. 

Only then  does the narrative finally gathers its wits together , switches gears  from being a flippant  take  on a neglected  sport , to actually getting down  in the field to get the knees and hands dirty in the  mud. 

There is a  dirty sports minister(Rao Ramesh) who wants  to sell off the national stadium named after hockey legend Chitti Babu ,  to  ruthless entrepreneurs. There is  an honest  sports coach Murli(Murali Sharma,  curiously all the main characters  are named  after the actors who play the characters). There is  furious flashback in which a hockey-playing  team mate Darshi(played by  an actor named Priyadarshi) who  commits suicide after being snubbed  and sidelined by an  evil  sports coach.

 Everything that a sports film is  supposed  package under one roof, including of course the big climactic tournament, is  there  in this film . The  plot is not  quite assembled with the  acumen of  an expert craftsman.But  it ambles along interestingly. Sundeep  Kishan is rightfully the star  of the  show. He  presides  over the plot with confidence. From among the  rest  of the cast, PosaniKrishna Murli and  Rao Ramesh are  interesting. The  ladies have  nothing  to do. LavanyaTripathi who  bustles and bristles  in  the first-half vanishes as  the  boys take over the  field.Chak De and  the  girl players  long  forgotten.

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