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How Powerful A Punch Does Priyanka Chopra Pack As Mary Kom?

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By Deepika Singhania:

She knows exactly what she wants and the rest of the world may try as hard as they want to, she’ll do anything to stay inside the ring. She doesn’t let society and stereotypes get to her. This is what we get from the two and a half minutes of the ‘Mary Kom’ movie trailer. Packed with powerful dialogues like this one – “Kabhi kisi ko ithna bhi math darao, ki dar hi khatham ho jaye” (Don’t scare someone to such an extent, that they forget what fear is), the trailer goes all out for girl power!

Produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Priyanka Chopra portraying the five time champion boxer, the trailer explores the obstacles a woman athlete faces when she tries to step into the ‘male space’. In the trailer, Mary Kom (Chopra) has to listen to her father chide her about how boxing is ‘not for girls’ when he finds that his daughter is walking around with wrestling gloves. He goes to the extent of burning them to prove his point. And like that wasn’t enough, boys pass snide remarks and call her Mohammad Ali. The difficult phase in her career when she lost all hope of a comeback is also well delineated when she says, “India boxer Mary Kom ko bhool gaya hai, kya Mary Kom bhi boxing bhool gaya hai?”. But Mary Kom overcomes all of that after which we get to see her struggle and knock out all the big bad boys, thanks to all the needed encouragement flooding in from her ‘Coach Sir’ (Sunil Thapa) and the husband.

We get a brief glimpse of how India views its women athletes. People question if she can be a good mother and an athlete at the same time. She’s just a farmer’s daughter after all; and becoming a world champion isn’t a joke. But does she prove their doubts to be wrong and pointless? Yes, absolutely. She is an all in one package — struggling, fighting, cooking, flirting; you just name it.

But even all the girl power does not do justice to the story. You ask why? Well, for one, how does Priyanka Chopra fit the role to play an athlete from the neglected North East India? She doesn’t look anything close to a Manipuri by a very long shot. She might know how to throw powerful punches physically and verbally, but there are a few shortcomings, yes. The dissimilarities are just too pronounced and wiping away the real Mary Kom’s appearance is almost next to impossible. And the fact that the other actors that are in the film are from the North East is just very disconcerting. Even her Manipuri accent comes and goes. The ‘aata hai’ and ‘jaata hai’ accent just doesn’t seem convincing enough. So, why not choose someone from Manipur to play the role? Is it just to score another blockbuster or was it to reach out to a larger audience? I’m not so sure.

Despite all the things that the film has got wrong, in an industry where movies rarely look at women in roles beyond being a damsel in distress, this movie will be a welcome change. She might not have the Manipuri features to pull off the role, but she does put her entire soul into the character; all the hard work is visible in the trailer. After Chopra’s spectacular performance in Barfi, this is something that fans will be looking forward to watching. It’s the true story of a champion. Some girl power mixed with a bit of Indian masala and oodles of energy, what more could you want?

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  1. anika

    Okay apologies in advance!
    I thought I would read something more than a trailer description. 3 paragraphs dedicated to what most people have already seen on YouTube and 2 paragraphs of general inferences we all have already made while on our coffee breaks or sutta-time discussions.

    Was expecting a lot more, because I genuinely feel how badly the film is trying to monetize on Mary Kom’s story and success. I understand these are the author’s views, which I do appreciate but since the platform like YKA is such that it’s also about creating that impact on a reader’s mind which can actually make one think about a subject. Good luck YKA!

    1. Deepika Singhania

      Hi Anita,

      Thank you for the feedback. While I appreciate your point of view and accept that the article doesn’t focus on the monetisation of Mary Kom’s success; I also think that the movie is a good way to spread her story across the globe. It doesn’t happen often in India that an actress gets to be the ‘hero’ in the movie nor does it happen very often that we make movies based on a woman’s life story. So I’d much rather focus on how this will inspire people and women more specifically instead of how the industry commercialises everything and anything. That is the reason why I chose to just keep the article just focused on the lead actress and the story and not be too criticial about the same. However, I do understand your concern. I’ll keep that in mind in the future.

      Thank you.

    2. danny

      madam ji ; ye to humko chutiyapa lagata hai , ladki ladki se lad sakti hai ladke se nahin…kya matlab hai ye sab boxing woxing kerne ka , ye sab wahi kerti hain jo kurup hain aur apni kurupta se frustrate ho ker ul julul harkat kerte rehti hain ,kabhi boxing to kabhi kabbadi kabhi heroine kabhi model ,,kya hai ye….?Do u think people r going to take these people seriously ,whether they r priyanka or marry kom , we just entertain from them they r not icon for us ……our icon can be krishna , budha or osho but a woman? or hero ,heroine or a boxer or player ? they r idols of fools …..chi!

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