Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal Movie Review: An Average Film
Hindi cinema has been witness to quite a number of outstanding sport-based films, beginning with Lagaan and its rag-a-tag band of desi cricketers to Chak De India's hockey girls, and then in between there was the superlative Iqbal as well. Thus, Vivek Agnihotri's Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal finds itself pitted against some very illustrious predecessors. In contrast, Goal, does not have the gut-wrenching emotional magic of the above mentioned three films, which captured the imagination of Indians everywhere. Goal has everything that you would expect and like to see in a sports film - there is the underdog on the verge of extinction and the final rising from the ashes. The pattern is generally thus, and Agnihotri stays quite true to the formula. He gets the logistics right, but fails in department of emotions. The emotions somehow ring more shrill than true in the film. It is difficult to drum up much feeling for the characters or their cause. The film remains chained to cliches and lacks that certain directorial genius or creative spark from the writing department. The story of the film is about a ragged band of Indians from Southall who find themselves on the verge of loosing their ground as their lease is due to expire in a year. The council wants to turn the ground into an amusement park for children, malls etc. Their lease could be extended if they are able to pay up 3 million pounds to the council. The only way out that Shaan (Arshad Warsi) , the captain of the team can see is for them to win the football league and grab the three million pound prize money. But what he has for a team is a bunch of Indian migrants, who have lost the habit of winning and are more interested in all things other than football. Shaan decides to recruit the services of Southall United's most illustrious player, Tony Singh (Boman Irani) as the team's coach. Apparently, Tony is the best that Southall had. The new coach manages to get the team into shape, but the team lacks that one key element, a top level striker, crucial if we are to win matches. That problem too gets solved fast enough as Tony discovers Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham), a desi who prides himself on being different. He has dreams of making it big as a professional footballer and would never deign to play for a down -and-out outfit like Southall United. Besides being a genius with the ball, he is also a confused young man who is still trying to win his father's approval. He plays for Ashton, one of the rival clubs and is certain to make it to the playing eleven, or so he thinks. And this is where the racial angle in the film comes through. He is dropped from the team because of the colour of his skin. Sunny is roped into the team by Tony but the decision does not go down to well with the rest. Sunny has done nothing to endear himself to the others because of his attitude. So an uneasy truce prevails, often threatening to explode. Sunny and Shaan are very different. While Shaan is at the end of his career, Sunny is on the verge of starting out. Also their reasons for playing football are very different. For Shaan, it is a matter of life and death as this is his last season and also the fact that he wants to save his club from extinction. Sunny is not bothered by such considerations. Meanwhile the league proceeds and Southall gradually starts making people sit up and wonder. They are a team transformed as they learn the art of playing as a team. But just before the crucial last two games, one of which they need to win to become league champs, the blow falls as Sunny signs up for another club. This move has been triggered by the Southall council, which wants to go ahead with its plans of a mall and amusement park. The move is seen as being anti-national by the team members, who have an emotional showdown with Sunny. But all's fine in the end, as Sunny comes back to play the final match. The result is, of course inevitable. The progress of the film's story line is quite predictable, right down to Sunny's reconciliation with his father. What the film lacks is that sense of mission that a Lagaan or a Chak De India have. What Goal has in its place is Southall United, the club that they are trying to save from the goras. What does not quite touch the heart is a bunch of desis in London, trying to save their club from the clutches of the white man. Then, the patriotic angle too is drawn in, and somehow that does not quite ring true. The characters, besides that of Arshad, Boman and John, fail to grab your imagination as a Kachra did in Lagaan or any one of the girls in Chak De. The rest are clich?d characters about the good and pure Hindustani, vis-?-vis the evil white man, is a little too hard to digest. The cause never seems to excite any emotion as well. Even Boman's character of the coach who redeems himself lacks the urgency of the coach of Chak De. The actors do their best to bring alive their characters but are letdown by the script. All three, Arshad Warsi, John Abraham and Boman Irani, try their best but their roles lack any meat for them to sink their teeth into with gusto. They make the best of what they have and are the most endearing part of the film. Bipasha Basu is there as eye candy and she kind of fulfills that role very well. As for the film's music, the title track is catchy and has a certain vibe to it. Billo Rani too is a very good number but has no place in the scheme of things in the movie. Its presence as an item song truly jars. But what is obvious from the film, is the hard work that the actors, John and Arshad specially put in ? they do end up looking like professionals and do show a certain knack with the ball. While the premise of the film is definitely promising ? a bunch of Indian expats, trying to save their club from extinction, it's in the execution that film falters. It remains an average film and should be seen as such, despite the hype around surrounding it.
Release Date : 23 November 2007
Banner : UTV Motion Pictures
Producer : Ronnie Screwvala
Director : Vivek Agnihotri
Genre : Drama