About Kaun Pravin Tambe?

Outs wingers are best left alone in Hindi sports biopics, which are known for their leaden-footed flirtation. As a result, finding a movie like Kaun Pravin Tambe?, which plays it straight as it pieces together an interesting personal story that is much more about dour fortitude than flashy accomplishments and staggering statistics, is a pleasant surprise.

Filmmaker Jayprad Desai (Kaun Pravin Tambe? is his first Bollywood movie and second feature after the Marathi-language Nagrik) and scriptwriter Kiran Yadnyopavit (himself a prominent filmmaker and entertainer) focus on a Mulund cricketer who spent the best years of his life grinding away in Times Shield tournaments in the hopes of breaking into the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. Seasons passed, but Pravin Tambe did not make the cut until he was well into his forties.

That isn’t to say that Kaun Pravin Tambe?, which can be seen on Disney+Hotstar, isn’t occasionally enticed into making false, fairy-tale strokes. In order to add some drama to the constant resistance and halts that the main character faced as he laboured on the outskirts of a game he adored to distraction, the film introduces a haughty sports journalist (Parambrata Chatterjee) who dismisses Tambe as a ‘gully-level’ cricketer with no future in the game’s higher leagues.

What is it about Kaun Pravin Tambe that works so well? is the inclusion of Shreyas Talpade, a Marathi and Hindi film actor who is underappreciated. Talpade is fantastic in his role as the titular medium pacer. He catches the man’s unwavering optimism as well as the recurring setbacks that threaten to wreck his career, all while maintaining a calm demeanour.

Of course, the picture has its share of biopic cliches, but it doesn’t take away from director Desai’s accurate tone and cadence for the most part. Tambe has the unwavering support of his colleagues and fellow cricketers, as well as his older brother’s active support (Varoon Varma). But life isn’t easy for the lower-middle-class boy who has to work to make ends meet while also caring for a wife and two children.

The film does a good job of showing the lighter aspect of things. The movie does not shy away from the comedy inherent in Tambe’s constant tenacity, despite his age and physical fitness. In reality, the ridiculousness of the late bloomer’s seemingly unachievable desire is captured in parts of the movie.

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