After last week's LOVE EXPRESS, Subhash Ghai's Mukta Searchlight Films presents yet another film helmed by newcomers on and off screen. The first time I saw the promo of CYCLE KICK, I have to admit this, it made me feel I was watching a slightly modified adaptation of Nagesh Kukunoor's IQBAL, which was also produced by Ghai.
Actually, one can draw parallels between IQBAL and CYCLE KICK; both had sports as the backdrop. It was a game of cricket in IQBAL, it's about football in CYCLE KICK. Also, the two films highlight the unwavering spirit of the underdog and how he triumphs eventually. Too many similarities or a mere coincidence? Well, director Shashi Sudigala was an assistant to Nagesh in IQBAL and to be inspired by a fantastic creation is no sin. But great films just happen, you can't replicate them.
Sure, CYCLE KICK is no IQBAL, but it's a decent effort nonetheless. There are rough edges, yes, but there are also some winning moments when your heart pines for the underdog. Especially the finale, when the warring factions battle it out in a match of football.
What surprises me is that LOVE EXPRESS, which was an amateurish attempt, got a better release than CYCLE KICK, though CYCLE KICK is miles ahead of that film. So why an unsung, apology of a release?
CYCLE KICK deals with the events that follow a bicycle. Two youngsters [Nishan Nanaiah and Sunny Hinduja] start off as foes, but the football coach [Tom Alter] convinces them to channelize their energies into football and forms a team. The climax depicts an energetic football match between two warring factions -- the players who come from well-to-do backgrounds and those who don't.
Frankly, the expectations from CYCLE KICK are zilch. But what catches your attention is its simplistic plotline. Also, the situations Nishan and Sunny find themselves in are identifiable and genuine. However, the director should've focused on the underdogs solely, instead of depicting their respective love affairs. In fact, the romantic stories are malnourished and one wonders, why were they injected in the narrative in the first place?
If one overlooks the minor hiccups that show up at regular intervals, CYCLE KICK comes across as a decent attempt. The football match in particular is the best part of the enterprise. Also, the locales of Sawantwadi are calm and serene and the DoP [Anshul Choubey] captures the beauty with finesse.
Both Nishan Nanaiah and Sunny Hinduja enact their parts with complete conviction. Dwij Yadav is a wonder-kid and he makes a strong mark yet again. Girija Oak [opposite Nishan] and Ishita Sharma [opposite Sunny] suffer due to inconsequential roles. Tom Alter is wonderful. Sameer Kochhar is hardly there.
On the whole, CYCLE KICK is a decent attempt, but the predicament is that it arrives with as good as zilch awareness.