There is no denying in the fact that the earnestness Jayasurya brings in, in his portrayal of a struggling football player is commendable. But debutante director Prajesh Sen’s scripting of Captain, a biopic on Indian football team captain VP Sathyan is focusing too much on the setbacks this man faced, rather than giving equal space to his accomplishments. Apart from the performances one see on screen, the other aspects of Captain is pretty much below average and it feels like a docufiction which covers major events in VP Sathyan’s life.
VP Sathyan is our central protagonist. He has played for Indian National football team, Kerala football team and various other prominent clubs. The movie here focuses on the journey of this footballer through ups and downs. How his injury affected his skills and how depression started to dominate over him is what Captain showing us.
It is a highly compromised film in terms of technical quality. In the climax sequence of this movie, we get to see a match between India and South Korea. Not a single face in that South Korean team looked South Korean. Similarly we get to see a lot of sequences where the budget constrains reduce the impact of the movie. VP Sathyan is not a well explored figure. So when you are trying to make a biopic on him, whom you address as an unsung hero, there is a responsibility as a film maker to show us why he was a hero on the first place. What the movie shows you is pretty much a series of back to back setbacks faced by the defender. At one scene in the movie, a character says Sathyan was invited to play for some other countries to represent their teams and he declined that offer. And I was like why that event is not a part of this movie?
Sathyan is from Chokli, Thalassery and Jayasurya has managed to crack the slang impressively. Even his body language in being expressive sort of gives a less dramatic authenticity to the central protagonist. The problem is when he becomes a footballer on field. The lack of conviction made me believe that Sathyan always had a major injury. Prajesh Sen tries to escape from this by taking close up shots of the legs, but it wasn’t enough. Anu Sithara is also convincing as Anitha. She also manages to get the slang correctly and present the melodrama neatly. Apart from these two, the rest of the characters appear discretely in the movie. Siddique does an impressive job in the film maker’s attempt to capitalize on the football spirit of Malappuram. Deepak Parambol, Renji Panicker, Thalaivasal Vijay and Saiju Kurup are also there as various characters.
Prajesh Sen is trying to focus on the grief of the footballer too much. If a person enters the theater without knowing anything about VP Sathyan, the experience would be depressing. Because of the less emphasis this movie gives on the rise of VP Sathyan, this moody exploration of his depression doesn’t really help the movie in being an inspiring tale. Roby Varghese Raj tries his best to give authenticity to frames, but the visual effects or the cuts weren’t really providing the support. The music is good on an album level, but the way it has been incorporated in this film wasn’t that pleasing and so was the case with the background score.
I wasn’t impressed with Captain. Acknowledging the life of Sathyan and the performance of Jayasurya, I would call Captain and average movie. Apart from these two factors, this movie from Prajesh Sen is a compromised attempt on many levels.
Acknowledging the life of Sathyan and the performance of Jayasurya, I would call Captain and average movie.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended