Cricket, Hockey, Football, Boxing... now Ice Hockey! Sport-centric films are gradually finding their way on the Hindi screen. BREAKAWAY aka SPEEDY SINGHS
brings several knows names from U.S., Canada and India in this cross-cultural family drama with Ice Hockey as the backdrop.
Like BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM much earlier and PATIALA HOUSE more recently, SPEEDY SINGHS also looks at the generation gap between the older generation [Anupam
Kher, in this case], who hold tightly to traditional values and the younger generation [Vinay Virmani], who have already adapted themselves to the adopted
country [Canada]. SPEEDY SINGHS has a plot you can connect with instantly, but the film suffers on varied counts.
It's not sacrilegious to be inspired by a foreign source [BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM], but the writer/s should've ensured that they explore/depict issues that
haven't been witnessed earlier. SPEEDY SINGH merely scratches the surface, but doesn't delve deeper into issues plaguing people of Indian origin living in
Canada. Also, Ice Hockey may be the most popular sport there, but it's hard known in India and that robs the film of the excitement and euphoria that's
attached to the sport. Besides, most importantly, the execution of the material throws a wet blanket. A desi director, I feel, would've been able to the
address the issues and merge the sport in the narrative more effectively. On second thoughts, given the poor screenplay of the film, there's not much even an
accomplished director would've achieved.
Rajveer [Vinay Virmani] dreams of a professional hockey career. Unquestionably, he has the talent to be an accomplished player, but faces many hurdles. His
goal is to succeed in a traditional white man's sport, but this conflicts with his father's wish that he devote his life to his religion and the family
Unable to find a foothold in the game, Rajveer takes matters into his own hands by creating an all-Sikh hockey team [Speedy Singhs], finding a coach [Rob
Lowe] and then bringing on his Uncle Sammy's [Gurpreet Ghuggi] trucking company as the team sponsor, doing all this behind his father's back. Along the way
to the championship game, he is faced with the questions he had not wanted to address.
SPEEDY SINGHS had the potential and also the opportunity to be *the* crossover film that would appeal to the diaspora as well as the gora audiences
across the globe. The marriage of Bollywood with a popular sport could've ensured a spot in the international arena, but, like I pointed out earlier, the
film has its limitations. The writing is patchy, the characters are superficial, the drama doesn't work and even the culmination to the story, which
should've been the hallmark, lacks the fizz to make you jump with joy. The film, very honestly, comes across as a poor clone of the successful Gurinder
Chadha movie BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM.
Besides, the Ice Hockey scenes are plain ordinary and leave no impact whatsoever. Also, the feeling of euphoria is completely missing, when Speedy Singhs win
the match. As for the songs, the soundtrack is lilting, especially 'Shera Di Kaum' and 'Aaja Veh', but the songs seem forced in the narrative, especially
As Rajveer, Vinay Virmani is charming for his first film. He shows promise and has the potential to be a better actor in times to come. Russell Peters raises
a few laughs, but his character is under-developed. Anupam Kher is his usual self, essaying a part he has essayed several times in the past. Rob Lowe is
serviceable, while Camilla Belle is efficient. Gurpreet Ghuggi is strictly okay, Noureen DeWulf sparkles and Sakina Jaffrey is interesting. Akshay Kumar
makes a cameo in the film -- in a sequence first and in the song during the end credits.
On the whole, SPEEDY SINGHS fails to deliver.