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Times of India
A boxing champion struggles with paying his bills and keeping the family afloat as he fights a corrupt sporting system in India.
Jeetu is a brawler who learns early in life that he can capitalise on his street fighting abilities and use them in the boxing ring. While he doesn’t have a coach, as is typical in boxing films and in the world of real boxing, he does have a loyal friend, Billu. While Jeetu wants to leave Phulpur and go to Allahabad become a National champion, all that Billu wants is to go to the big city and become a champion eve-teaser. So, the two best friends leave for Allahabad, to increase the city’s crime rate, and to fulfill Jeetu’s dream while they’re there. There, in a boxing institution known as ‘World’s Finest Boxing School’, Jeetu bumps into a tough-to-please, fiery girl named Kalpana and the two get hitched. Two kids and several wins later, the chance at a National level bout still eludes Jeetu, given the systemic apathy towards boxing in India. As a broke Jeetu goes to pawn his medals, he realises that all the gold medals he ever won were all not real gold. This is what really crushes him and he looks at how he could gather money to pay for his sick daughter’s treatment.
A rather bizarre point that the film tries to make is the fact that boxers need to be given real gold medals so that they can pawn them off at a later date. Shouldn’t the filmmaker be talking about improving the system them? But that’s the least of the bizarre things in ‘Medal’. With stock MMA fight shots taken, there are a total of three fights shown in the film. The sound is so unsynchronised, that you hear punches which Jeetu didn’t even throw. The performances are more comical than serious, and not in a good way. Watch out for the absurdly Rocky-esque training session, which is a parody of every movie workout ever. And which boxer laughs as he is being pummelled? Well, Jeetu’s opponents do!
While one may remark on the timing of the film releasing so close to Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Mukkabaz’, it would be safe to say that the two are polar opposites, and this one doesn’t even come close to it. But then again, no one ever really makes any effort in this one either.