What's common between Bend It Like Beckham, Iqbal, Patiala House and now Speedy Singhs? Well, in simple words, the fathers are the villains! Yes, all these films have the father being against their child's sport aspirations due to whatsoever reasons. And Speedy Singhs follows the same path. So, does this film bring at all anything new to the table? No! However, surprisingly, Speedy Singhs yet proves to be a pleasant watch.
Rajveer Singh is a 21 year old young man dreaming of a professional hockey career. He has the talent to be an accomplished player, but faces many hurdles, the biggest of which is himself. Raised as a traditional Sikh, Rajveer was forbidden as a boy to cut his hair and had to wear a turban which stopped him from playing hockey, the game he loved. In his early teens, forsaking his family's religious traditions and beliefs, he removed his turban and cut his hair in order to be accepted within his country. His goal was to succeed in a traditional white man's sport, but this conflicted with his father's wishes. Unable to find a foothold in the game, Rajveer takes matters into his own hands by creating an all Indian hockey team (The Speedy Singhs), finding a coach and then bringing on his Uncle Sammy's trucking company as the team sponsor, doing all this behind his father's back. Set in suburban Toronto, the film tracks a young man struggling between the traditional Indo-Canadian family expectations and his dreams of hockey stardom.
As mentioned, Speedy Singhs has no unique story to its credit. But it works, mainly because it brings that smile to your face. Also, Speedy Singhs is no usual Bollywood film. It doesn't have over the top performances, unnecessary dramatic moments, long list of needless songs, etc. The film has a very natural flow and approach which makes it very easy on the eyes. Also, Punjabi humor hardly ever fails with the audiences. The subtle humor proves to be another plus point for this film. But a major winning point for this film is the chemistry between its actors, be it between the Punjabi friends and their coach played by Rob Lowe, or the cold war between Russell Peters and Vinay Virmani, or the sweet moments between Camille Bell and Vinay, or even Anupam Kher and his wife's typical humorous arguments. It's all of this which makes Speedy Singhs so relatable and pleasant. However, being an old wine in a different bottle (I wouldn't say new), the movie is extremely predictable. From the main protagonist being thrown out of his house plus team, to their cliched victory style in the final match and even the white girl Camille wearing a sari at some point, it's all very predictable. Also, a little more prominence to the sport which is the essence of the film would have made it much more interesting. By the way, what is the deal with the Bollywood song Chaddi Wale Yaar in a dream sequence? It does not only fit in the movie ridiculously but also looks idiotic considering the distinction between the main protagonists' close-ups and the computer graphics dance-skating on ice(supposed to look like them) is completely evident.
The technical team seems to have done an appropriate job. Direction by Robert Lieberman, Cinematography by Steve Danyluk and Screenplay by Vinay Virmani; all seem appropriate according to the requirement of the script. However, the script could have been improved upon, giving the story a different angle. Speedy Singhs can easily be called the male version of Bend It Like Beckham with a different sport. Coming to the actors, the film is filled with natural top-notch performances. Vinay Virmani is a charmer and the soul of the film. Russell Peters is surprisingly not seen in much of his usual 'Russell' humor, however, it's good to see him do something different without getting carried away. Camille Bell is a beautiful natural performer and her chemistry with Vinay is interesting to watch. Being the Bollywood fan I am, Rob Lowe's character easily reminds me of Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De India. Nevertheless, he does a brilliant job. Guggi is good in his bit. And lastly, Anupam Kher might be repeating his Bend It Like Beckham act; but being the brilliant performer he is, he yet shines out as the best among all such talented actors.
Overall, Speedy Singhs is no extra-ordinary affair. But it still succeeds in the entertainment quotient leaving you with a smile. If you have nothing to do and feel like catching a movie, Speedy Singhs wouldn't be a bad choice. A decent time-pass entertainer!
Rating: *** (Three Stars)
Author: Rishitu Amarnani