maidaan movie 2024

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By robb the singh

Raising a child requires a village. And it takes a nation to produce a stellar squad that can defeat the greatest in the world. The core of “Maidaan” is the inspirational true story of Syed Abdul Rahim, the first Indian football manager and coach who led his team to two gold medals at the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962.


The “Maidaan” squad deserves a lot of credit simply for bringing to life a now-sadly-forgotten individual who inspired a youthful team to give it their all against such powerful Asian opponents as Indonesia and South Korea. Instead of cricket, it’s football, where India hasn’t been able to make an international impact since Rahim retired after a protracted battle with lung cancer.

The man’s Muslim faith is significant, as it represents a courageous decision in contemporary India. Although the actual Rahim, also known as Rahim Sa’ab, was born in Hyderabad, the majority of his fights and victories occurred in Calcutta, the home of Indian football.

It also matters that Rahim’s motley crew, which Ajay Devgn played with genuine sincerity and just a hint of slo-mo swagger, has the kind of syncretic composition that evokes such nostalgia: players from all backgrounds and places swarming the locker room and field, trying to work together as a cohesive fighting machine.

With the support of a potent sports writer (Gajraj Rao), Rahim and his main rival (Rudranil Ghosh) in the Football Federation of India are driven by a sense of regional pride. In the games people play behind closed doors, deciding who makes the team and gets to go on the coveted “foreign” tours, it’s more about Bengal vs. Hyderabad than it is about Hindu vs. Muslim. Take a boisterous Bengali away from his fandom and what you get is a roar of silence—or in this case, outright hostility.

The three-hour movie has moments where the action seems to be pushed to the side as the drama is amplified just for impact and the loud background music seems to be taking control. However, not all of the musical sequences are bad. There’s a really beautiful one early in the movie that goes along with the discovery of a player in an unlikely area. However, there comes a moment when it gets to be too much, too loud, and you want to cover your ears with your hands.

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