Review Telugu

Jersey review: A moving sports drama about a late bloomer

Release Date: 19 Apr 2019


Cinestaan Rating

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Karthik Kumar

Despite treading a familiar path of narrating a heroic story of success and dreams, Jersey works as a refreshingly heartwarming tale of self-discovery and redemption.

The Nani-starrer Jersey is a film to savour, and is unarguably the best Telugu film of the year by far. It is a film that works, and works well, on two levels — as a sports drama about a cricketer chasing his dream at the ripe old age (in sporting terms) of 36 and as a touching father-son bonding drama.

Despite treading a familiar path of narrating a heroic story of success and dreams, Jersey works as a refreshingly heartwarming tale of self-discovery and redemption.

The story of Jersey takes place between 1986 and 1996 and is centred on a hot-headed ex-Ranji Trophy cricketer Arjun (Nani), who has an impeccable track record and serious attitude issues.

Sarah (Shraddha Srinath) falls head over heels for Arjun and marries him against her father’s wishes. Everything is going well for Arjun, who is due to be selected for the Indian national team. But when he gets let down by politics in the selection committee, he decides to quit cricket for good and look after his family.

Ten years after he bid adieu to the game, Arjun decides to play again to prove himself at 36 for the sake of his son.

Jersey works beautifully both as a competent sports drama and a moving tale of a father and son. Unlike most sports-based films, this is not the story of a hero; this is a story of a man who gets his shot at life one last time and has to make the most of it. This is the story of a father who does not want to disappoint his son, of a husband who wants to finally bring a ray of hope into his wife’s life and, finally, of a cricketer who wants to fulfil his coach’s long-time wish.

In Jersey, the focus is not on the success and glory of Arjun, but on his failure and how he rises against the odds, and that’s what makes it one of the best sports films in recent years.

Nani is terrific as Arjun, and this is unarguably his career-best performance. As Arjun, he really makes us empathize with his character as he struggles to make his last shot at life count and, at the same time, make his son proud.

Shraddha Srinath shines in her Telugu debut in a role that’s not easy to portray. As the guilt-ridden couple struggling to keep their marriage afloat, Nani and Shraddha make their relationship really tick with understated performances.

Jersey is built on Arjun’s relationship with his young son, Nani, and the scenes between them are captured beautifully. From a helpless father who can’t even buy a jersey for his son on his birthday to actually stepping on to the cricket field for the sake of his son, Nani really owns the role with ease and conviction.

He gets the body language of a batsman right and is a treat to watch while playing. Clearly, a great deal of effort has been put in to play the character and get into his skin, though the performance itself appears effortless.

Jersey manages to shoot the cricket matches as authentically as possible. Unlike Majili (2019), the recent Telugu film set against the backdrop of cricket, it is quite evident that the actors in Jersey spent months training to play cricketers.

 

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