The sport of boxing has never appealed to me: cauliflower ears, brain damage, even death, resulting from the brutality of the game; but I rarely miss a boxing flick; they resonate with profound pathos, the quintessential joy when the underdog champions; possibly because of the agony, the ecstasy of victory is even sweeter. Some of the greats: “The Champ”, “Raging Bull”, “Cinderella Man”, “The Fighter”; “Rocky”, the unequaled impresario, who’ll be circling the ring as an octogenarian.
The most heart- wrenching boxing movie in this millennium is the 2004 “Million Dollar Baby”; Hilary Swank gives an academy award performance as a woman who refuses to be deterred, undermined in pursuing her boxing career. “Mary Kom” is the true story of such a woman; a girl from a small India village, who with overwhelming tenacity, attains the highest glory, in a profession perpetually cruel in its intimacy. This better than average Bollywood film is worthy of a universal audience.
Priyanka Chopra’s performance as “Mary Kom” is as good as it gets; capturing the intrepidness of this Indian legend; in the same league as last year’s “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” (Farhan Akhtan, won Filmfare Best Actor Award as the Olympic runner “The Flying Sikh”); merciless, torturous training under curmudgeonly “Coach” (Sunil Thapa) scintillating, awesome stamina is squeezed from Chopra; she captures Mary’s extraordinary will to conquer, succeed, be the best at what she loves. Her remarkable husband “Onlder” (Dashan Kumar) is the force behind her intransigent will power.
“Mary Kom” is a stunning portrait of an unfamiliar, unheralded athlete, made viable by the inimitably resourceful skills of actor Priyanka Chopra.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!