Saand Ki Aankh movie reviews: A conventional underdog drama, say critics
Saand Ki Aankh is a biopic that delivers food for thought and emotional stimulation in one go. Here's what critics are saying about the Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu film.
Saand Ki Aankh uses the genre of the 'sports film' to tell a fascinating story of women and dreams on the big screen. While the biopic is not the first Hindi film about women and sport. But, refreshingly, it’s one that is about two inspiring grandmothers getting involved in athletics in their 60s and trying to break into a male-dominated world.
Saand Ki Aankh is set in the world of sharpshooting and is the true story of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, a pair of sisters-in-law from Johri village in Uttar Pradesh. In the film, Bhumi Pednekar (Chandro) and Taapsee Pannu (Prakashi) live with their husbands and assorted children and grandchildren and the family patriarch: Their overbearing, controlling brother-in-law Ratan Singh, played by Prakash Jha. When a shooting range is set up in the village,
Chandro envisages a ticket for her granddaughter Shefali (Sara Arjun) and Prakashi sees a way for her daughter Seema (Pritha Bakshi) to break out of the cycle of inequity. In doing so, the older women discover their own latent talents as formidable sharpshooters. But they can do so clandestinely.
Helmed by Tushar Hiranandani, scripted by Balwinder Singh Janjua, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, edited by Devendra Murdeshwar and lensed by Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti, Saand Ki Aankh is a uncompromisingly women-centric film made by a team composed predominantly of men.
As with most female-centric sports movies, Saand Ki Aankh revolves around the struggle against misogyny. It is about two 60-year-old 'shooter daadis' invading masculine turf and making it in a male-dominated sport. Like the best sports movies, the sport (shooting) isn’t the story; it’s part of the character. The film is a critique of patronising attitudes.
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Not everything that Saand Ki Aankh serves up hits bull's-eye. Some critics could not ignore that younger, commercially bankable actresses were unconvincingly aged up to play 60-year-olds, while the older men are played by, well, older men. Ever since it was greenlit, this has been an element that has fuelled much of the film's furour, something that's only been heightened in the weeks leading up to its release on Friday (October 25). And rightly so.
Although almost all critics have praised Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu for giving their best shot and coming up with performances that cannot be faulted for lack of effort.
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Saand Ki Aankh is unapologetically an underdog drama — and more pertinently, unapologetically about two unconventional female mould-breakers — with plenty of expressions, nuances, and traditions — many particularly unique to the Hindi heartland — shaping the characters and setting. Scroll down if you wish to read Saand Ki Aankh critics reviews before deciding to watch the movie.
Rajeev Masand in News 18
"Saand Ki Aankh is a feel-good, inspiring story of two women who challenged patriarchy by picking up the ultimate symbol of masculinity. Lest that point be too subtle, we get at least two scenes in which Ratan Singh caresses his gun while declaring in true-blue Bollywood villain style: “Yeh bandook mardon ka gehna hai, mardon ke haath mein hi acha laage.” The absence of subtlety, and the broad-strokes storytelling are conscious choices on the part of the makers.
When Chandro and Prakashi attend their first tournament they’re laughed at by the gathered crowd, who, predictably, become their cheerleaders when they win. That scenario is repeated at least twice. But it’s the way the ladies land their punchy dialogues, and it’s their winning sisterly chemistry that makes you warm up to them early on. The film’s tone remains consistently upbeat, and that’s another big strength."
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Shubhra Gupta in Indian Express
"The duo [Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu] shares crackling chemistry on account of playing to their strengths and shrugging off the obvious disadvantages they are saddled with. The prosthetics are uneven, the make-up is spotty, and their body language inevitably inconsistent. It isn't easy playing 60 when you are 30. They work hard to rise above the downsides and manage to get us to look away from the minuses, pay attention to the battles their characters fight against the men, at home and in the shooting range, and make us marvel at their incredible gumption and guts.
This is a story that matters and it is told with the respect that it deserves. A little more restraint, a tighter edit and better target selection might have made all the difference and turned Saand Ki Aankh into the film that it had the potential to be. The blemishes are, however, only fleeting and do not cause permanent damage."
Udita Jhunjhunwala in Live Mint
"One cannot ignore that younger, commercially bankable actresses have been aged up to play 60-year-olds (the make up design is rather inconsistent and unconvincing) while the older men are played by, well, older men. But these are small niggles.
Among a slew of biopics, past and present, Saand Ki Aankh stands apart because it doesn’t just celebrate the achievement of two individuals. Chandro and Prakashi Tomar didn’t just spiritedly take up sharpshooting at 60. What distinguishes them is how they inspired a younger generation to break out of patterns of suppression and, along the way, impacted the attitude of the men too."