The finale will be crisp and short, somebody says in the last act. That’s a lie.
The hero has no game plan and no strategy, and is forging ahead on sheer will power. This bit is true.
There is a lot to take in over the 166-minute duration of Baadshah Pehlwaan. There is the bond between trainer Sarkar (Suniel Shetty) and the street kid Krishna, whom Sarkar rears as his son and moulds into a champion wrestler. There is the rivalry with the mean-minded feudal lord Rana (Sushant Singh), who behaves as though democracy has not touched this corner of Karnataka and who wins every single match he organises by rigging the results. There is Krishna’s love for Rukmani (Akanksha Singh), which distracts him from his goal of emerging as the top Indian wrestler. Then there is the nasty boxer Tony (Kabir Duhan Singh), who is so vicious in the ring that his own coach (Sharath Lohitasva) abandons him.
Even as director S Krishna struggles to bring these plot strands together, he complicates things for himself and viewers by introducing another element – Krishna’s dedication to promoting a sporting culture among children. Krishna performs many contortions in the arena, but his exertions are no match for the attempts of screenwriters S Krishna, Madhoo and DS Kannan to transform a movie about a wrestler into a dramatic statement about the need to fund sporting talent.
On the off chance that Krishna is excessively righteous and one-note to his benefit, accuse his name. The Hindi named form of the Kannada film Pailwaan coats a standard games adventure with legendary tints. Krishna’s fight to keep up his matchless quality is joined by religious serenades that are noisy enough to be heard right in the Great Beyond.
Krishna’s promise to his master Sarkar, his purposeful outcast, and his various close marvelous recuperations correspondingly have a pinch of the celestial. There is even an astronomical component in the scene when a mace flies through the air like the diving being Thor’s otherworldly sledge and unerringly discovers its approach to Krishna.