Finals from Arun PR is a very interesting sports drama. Many of you who might be looking forward to this movie may have thought that it’s a movie about a girl’s rise to fame by winning a championship. Even I was under that impression. But Finals is a little more than that. Post interval I was really wondering how this movie will take off again, but to my surprise, the movie gained momentum gradually to ultimately become a movie that is extremely earnest with its intentions.
Alice is a cyclist who is aiming to win gold for India in the next Olympics. Varghese sir is her father and an athletics coach. Alice has this passion for cycling and her father is extremely supportive in that. A boy named Manuel who is a family friend is also there in this journey as a well-wisher of Alice who loves her. Finals is about these three characters. How they reacted when life came hard at them is what this movie showing us.
A movie that came to my mind while watching Finals was Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal. The texture of both these films somewhere has a resemblance; this is in no way a plagiarism accusation. Iqbal wasn’t a big scale spectacle. It showed the growth of a boy with disabilities who loved cricket trying hard and eventually reaching the Indian cricket team. Here also we are not seeing any grand scale international event on the screen. The reality of Finals is an extremely believable one. Alice of Finals is not from a wonderland. Her father has reasons to be stubborn externally. The way the relationship between Alice, Varghese, and Manuel evolve over a testing period of time is done very effectively. Some of the portions that showcased the foul plays in the sports department of the government aren’t completely convincing, but yet you won’t feel like questioning the relevance of such moments.
As someone who has seen the two films for which Arun PR has written the screenplay (Nellikka and Jamnapyari), Finals was a surprisingly good film for me. Arun is not trying hard to verbally communicate everything. In some ways, Varghese Mash is that Lalu Alex kind of a person who is okay with the choices made by his daughter. But Arun makes him a minimal talker. Similar is the case in the relationship between Alice and Manuel. Cheesiness and melodrama one gets to see in this script are raw and emotional. Sudeep Elamon is really a super talent in handling the cinematography. You can sense an effort to make the visual look authentic in every frame. The stylizing done through slow motion is not overused and he has captured the scenic beauty of Kattappana very effectively and slightly differently. The songs are really good and the background score had a major role in elevating the mood. Some people may have a complaint that post-interval the movie suffers a severe lag. But when I look back at the movie that lag sort of makes sense. It was essential for both Manuel and Varghese to change their attitude.
Rajisha Vijayan has that sincerity in being Alice. The simplicity and affection in Alice were portrayed very neatly by the talented actress. Even though her screen time is limited in the second half, you won’t ever forget that character. For me, the most memorable performance was from Suraj Venjaramood. As Varghese he has multiple shades depending on various realities he had to face in life. And it was so nice to see him give minor variations to portray each of that. In a recent interview, Niranj has said that he is looking at Finals as his first movie. Well, I must say that the actor looks really refined now. He is more aware of the fact that acting can also be a bit internalized. Nisthar Sait plays the major antagonist very convincingly. Tini Tom and Sona Nair were fine in their respective roles. Dhruvan is there in a relevant yet small role. Muthumani plays the role of a journalist and Maniyanpilla Raju is the sports minister.
Finals is not your festival season celebration movie that comes as a whole package. Their efforts to include a lot of political issues in the sports sector have resulted in some flaws in the treatment. But the overall earnestness of the movie is really appreciable. With brilliant visuals, wonderful performances, and a sincere approach, I would say Finals deserves to be watched.
With brilliant visuals, wonderful performances, and a sincere approach, I would say Finals deserves to be watched.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended