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Kaun Pravin Tambe? review: The Shreyas Talpade-starrer shows that dreams have no expiry date

Release Date: 01 Apr 2022 / 02hr 14min

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Keyur Seta

Directed by Jayprad Desai, the real-life story of Pravin Tambe who rose above the odds and conquered the age bar to succeed is truly inspiring.

Sports biopics or films based on sports personalities have been in vogue in Hindi cinema for around a decade now. The protagonists in most such films dream of bringing glory to the country with their sporting exploits. If nothing else, they dream of representing the country at the highest level of their sport.

Not Pravin Tambe. His life's ambition is to just represent Mumbai once in the Ranji Trophy. For the uninitiated, the Ranji Trophy is India's premier domestic first-class tournament played by the various state cricket associations and a few legacy teams representing some cities and erstwhile princely states.

This dream might not appear too grand for many and so a film about a man who just wants to play domestic cricket for his city might not sound like an interesting subject. But considering the circumstances Tambe faced, including his age, and how he triumphed, a biopic on him is not only an interesting idea but also inspiring for many who are told to stop dreaming after a certain age.

Kaun Pravin Tambe? begins when the protagonist, played by Shreyas Talpade, is a kid. He dreams of making it big in cricket. But being from a lower-middle-class background, he cannot focus entirely on the game and has to shoulder some responsibility by taking up a job on graduation. His mother (Chhaya Kadam) is after him to do something 'worthwhile' in life. He, however, only wants to join a company that has a cricket team of its own.

Shreyas Talpade in Kaun Pravin Tambe?

Pravin lands such a job through unusual means. He also gets married to Vaishali (Anjali Patil) in the meanwhile. He works hard both at the office and on the cricket field as a medium pace bowler.

But just when he thinks he is all set to play the Ranji Trophy, he runs into an obstacle. This happens regularly. There comes a time when Pravin reaches an age at which players generally retire. But he still hopes to make it to his goal against the odds.

One generally expects a film like this to start with a dramatic moment born out of the game. But Kaun Pravin Tambe? takes you by surprise with its simple opening. This works well because the simplicity is maintained throughout. One feels invested in Pravin Tambe’s successes and failures because of his passion and honesty. In other words, director Jayprad Desai makes you root for the protagonist.

Shreyas Talpade gets Tambe's bowling action right. Of course, we know nothing of how the former cricketer is with family, friends and teammates. But Talpade’s performance is consistently appealing. The strongest point of his act is the unflinching hunger he portrays to get to his goal even when things start souring.

Shreyas Talpade with the real Pravin Tambe

Anjali Patil is fine as the typical homemaker and Tambe’s support system. Chhaya Kadam is perfect as Tambe’s nagging mother. Ashish Vidyarthi excels as the strict yet soft-hearted coach. Parambrata Chatterjee makes the character of the arrogant sports journalist believable.

Yet, the film could have been shorter than its two hours 13 minutes. The middle portion needed to be crisper. There is also the question of whether the film will appeal to those not well-versed with Indian domesic cricket and the strong competition a player faces for getting a place in a leading Ranji side like Mumbai.

But the climax is overwhelming and makes up for any shortcomings. This portion, which highlights Tambe’s emotional achievement in the Indian Premier League (IPL), will also be cherished by those who are not exactly cricket fans. The rise of an individual who was rubbished and told he was too old to play at the highest level is truly wonderful.

Kaun Pravin Tambe? is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.


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