Pailwaan (Pehlwaan in Hindi) is another ambitious project from Kannada Film Industry (after KGF) which is released in other languages too. The film is directed by Kirshna and Kichaa Sudeepa plays the role of a Wrestler cum Boxer in the film.
Firstly, Pailwaan is not a typical sports film where the underdog team or individual emerge as winner in the end, after confronting lot of obstacles. This is a complete commercial film with romance, mass, action, some sentiments and a message too. Krishna alias Kichaa (Kichaa Sudeepa) is an orphan who takes up street fight to win a bet and buy some food for the street kids. Sarkar (Sunil Shetty) who is a wrestler (through generations), adopts Krishna in the hope that he can train Krishna to become a national level wrestler.
The trouble starts when Krishna falls in love with Rukmini (Akanksha), daughter of a rich business man and marries her against the wishes of Sarkar. Meanwhile we have two villains in the story – Raja Rana Pratap Varma (Sushant Singh) who is from the King’s descendent family and a wrestler himself, raging to win a game against Krishna, after being defeated in his home town. Then we have Tony (Kabir Duhan), an arrogant boxer who will not hesitate to go to the extent of killing the opponent in the boxing ring. After some incidents, Krishna is forced to takeup boxing and win the Pro-boxing legue competition.
The strength of the film is Kichaa Sudeepa. We have seen Sudeep excel in various avatars – be it romance, action hero or even villain, delivering mass dialogues etc effortlessly. But this is a different game and he has to look physically fit as well to pull off the role effectively. The efforts put in by the actor shows very clearly – with a well-built and toned physique, he pulls off the role, both as a wrestler and a boxer convincingly. The climax boxing fight is a very good example. It’s choreographed and performed so realistically (including Kabir Duhan), that you feel like watching a real boxing match. There are typical scenes and dialogues to keep the actors fan base happy as well.
Sunil Shetty has a good role and he does it well. Akanksha is good. The other actors do their part well. In most sports based films, we know the ending. Hence, keeping the audience engaged till the end is really difficult. Director Krishna excels here with his script by adding right amount of commercial elements to keep the interest live through out. While the first half is laced with comedy, romance and wrestling, the second half leads into a sentimental feel-good territory and ends with a bang in the boxing ring. The director also stresses on a relevant message on sports/games - the talents and opportunities we have lost in the name of poverty.
Technically, the film is good. The cinematography by Karunakara is catchy especially the wrestling and boxing matches are captured well. The sets and overall atmosphere created for the matches were also convincing, though the use of CG in some scenes was evident. The BGM is catchy in most places and elevates the mass scenes. However, it could have been better. The dialogues were good too. On the negatives, the romance portions were long and dragging. Too many songs also spoil the feel of the film – the duet in the first half was not required at all.
Overall, Pailwaan is a decent commercial entertainer enhanced further by the efforts and performance of Kichaa Sudeepa.
Rating – 3.25/5
P.S - This was the Tamil version and I have to say the dubbing for Kichaa was not great.