Movie Review of Punjabi Movie ‘Harjeeta’.
Star Cast: Ammy Virk, Sawan Rupowali, Sameep Singh, Pankaj Tripathi, Raj Jhinjer, Gurpreet K Bhangu, Parkash Gadu, Sukhi Chahal, Jarnail Singh
Director: Vijay Kumar Arora
Producer: Nick Bahl, Munish Sahni, Bhushan K Chopra and Bhagwant Virk.
Music: Gurmeet Singh
Genre: Sports Drama
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Synopsis: Harjeeta is a biopic of young Indian Hockey Player Harjeet Singh Tulli (Ammy Virk), who captained the Indian team to victory in the 2016 Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup. Beating Belgium in the final at Lucknow, the team continued its unassailable spree in the tourney.
To call the movie a feather in the actor(s) or director’s cap would be unfair to the movie for an outright coup like Harjeeta deserves to be a feather in the cap of the whole Punjabi industry because of what it has delivered in two hours and 10 minutes. The movie will unequivocally go down as one of the best Punjabi movies of this year.
The movie starts with Harjeet Singh visiting a gurudwara on the morning of the day before the final of the 2016 Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup. Soon, the audiences are taken to a time in the past, a time when Kabaddi was the game which Harjeet used to play. The rags to riches story of India’s mid-fielder begins from here.
The director successfully portrayed the childhood of Harjeet Singh (Sameep Singh) on the silver screen. Even the minute details about him and the various nuances of his behaviour were given equal space on the screen which made sure that the movie didn’t become a downright Hockey-based movie but a biopic of a Hockey player which involved both his personal life and him rising up the ranks to represent the nation.
Watching Harjeet’s relation with his father (Prakash Gadhu), mother (Gurpreet Bhangu), cousin (Raj Singh Jhinjer) and coach (Pankaj Tripathi) in his childhood days makes the movie an overall package. The transformation of Harjeet Singh from Sameep Singh to Ammy Virk was smooth and didn’t appear to be a forced sequence. The scenes where Harjeet Singh is seen participating in trials in the initial stage of his career depict Ammy Virk’s transfiguration to the core, something mere words would not be able to describe.
Harjeet’s journey of representing the nation wasn’t an easy road to travel even with respect to the sport. It was at this point in time that he met Arpan (Sawan Rupowali) and their friendship grew to the extent of them falling for each other. This love story, which is partially real and partially fiction, goes right down to the wire in terms of having an impact on the climax of the movie.
Talking about the acting in the movie, Ammy Virk has indisputably delivered the performance of the year thus far in the Punjabi film industry. Be it his bodily changes or the overall change to his personality, Ammy has perhaps done every possible thing which could have made him look alike the Hockey player. One of the key facets of him in the movie is him holding back, a trait which you do not associate with Ammy Virk. A sterling performance saw him donning the personality of Harjeet Singh with utmost brilliance.
Pankaj Tripathi, playing the role of a coach in the movie, has proved as to why he is one of the most sought-after actors in the nation currently. Right from introducing a naive Harjeet to the sport to coaching the junior Indian team, Tripathi exerted ample influence with his role. Sawan Rupowali, who has made her debut in the Punjabi movie industry with Harjeeta, was splendid in her role opposite to Ammy. Right from her supporting Ammy in the movie to her chemistry with him in the movie can be raved about.
Raj Singh Jhinjer, who has returned to the silver screen after a considerable gap, left an impact whenever he came on screen. The demand of his character was to be a motivating elder brother and a fervent well-wisher. Jhinjer has fulfilled both the requirements in a manner which will not leave anyone disappointed. Harjeet’s parents, Prakash Gadhu and Gurpreet Bhangu, showed legitimateness throughout the movie in their respective roles. It would be unjust to write this review and not applaud the child actor in Sameep Singh who was as apt as reality in portraying the character of a young Harjeet Singh.
The experience of director Vijay Kumar Arora is undeniably visible on the celluloid. It would have been very easy for this movie to not match the required standards in the regional cinema due to numerous reasons. That being said, forget not matching the standards, the director has laid down a fresh set of standards which others would be wanting to match in the future. The visuals of the sport being played in the movie are superlative to the extent that they never give the impression of it being a movie.
Harjeeta was also an exemplary of the fact that it isn’t necessary to involve over-the-top dramatic sequences to make an outstanding movie. Conviction and dedication towards simple things can also result in a ground-breaking movie such as Harjeeta. It would not be wrong to say that the Harjeeta is a not a regular sports biopic and that it successfully accommodates some distinctive features.
Jagdeep Sidhu, who has penned down the script of the movie, has done a commendable job at that. It can be very easy to say that a writer has a limited role to play in writing a biopic. That said, if the same biopic in not written in an appropriate manner, the entire fondness of the audiences towards the movie changes. The fictional element put in the movie is worth the praise and as above mentioned above, the way in which it has a say during the climax clearly conveys the supreme quality with which the script is written. One chink in the armour in Harjeeta for some people can be the over-emphasis given on the love story. Having done all the research, Jagdeep should have also known that Hockey was no more the National game of the country when the Junior World Cup took place in 2016. Not once, but twice, has Hockey been mentioned as the National Sport of the country in the movie.
Gurmeet Singh has given the music in the movie. Two songs which standout in the movie are ‘Kinna Pyaar’ and ‘Dekhi Chal’. The latter, sung in the voice of Daler Mehandi, is an archetype song which forms the backbone of a sports-based movie.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned negligible mistakes, visit your nearest cinema halls to witness this utter piece of distinction. Watch Harjeeta to see the ever-so impelling story of a son of a truck driver who went on to win the Junior World Cup for the nation under his reign.