Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Meerabai Not Out: You’ll love it if you like cricket
Or maybe it was because it took me back to my teenage years, when many afternoons were spent cutting out pictures of my favourite cricketers and pasting them in a scrapbook.
Or watching one-day matches between India and Bangladesh with the fervour worthy of a World Cup final.
“Meerabai Not Out,” directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni, is a simple film that explores just one phenomenon — India’s obsession with the game of cricket.
The film does that through the character of Meera, a middle-class bespectacled, salwar-kameez clad
Marathi school teacher, whose only quirk, if you may call it that, is her obsession with cricket and especially with spinner Anil Kumble (who charms in a guest appearance).
Meera is willing to take on a ticket tout because he is “polluting” the game, she can rattle off cricket statistics faster than anyone else, and instead of quizzing prospective grooms about their careers, she’s more interested in the extent of their cricket knowledge.
Director Kulkarni paints an endearing picture of Meera’s middle-class Maharashtrian existence and her love for cricket in the first half, and is ably supported by the cast, including Vandana Gupte as Meera’s smart alec mother and Mahesh Manjrekar who does a great job as Meera’s grumpy but doting elder brother.
The trouble starts when Meera falls in love with Arjun (Ejaz Khan), a well-to-do doctor who doesn’t share her passion. The film’s second half concentrates on Meera’s struggle to choose between her love and cricket.
Overall, this is a light-hearted film and be sure you will be smiling through most of it — especially if you are a cricket fan.
The script does waver towards the end and the climax is senseless, to say the least. Ejaz Khan’s acting doesn’t really do the film any good.
On the upside, Mandira Bedi’s performance as Meera is a pleasant surprise. She lends her character a believability that was essential in a film like this.
If you don’t have plans for the weekend, give this film a chance.