Theatrical release poster of the Tamil version
|Directed by||Sudha Kongara|
C. V. Kumar (Tamil)
R. Madhavan (Tamil)
Rajkumar Hirani (Hindi)
Arun Matheshwaran (Tamil dialogues)
|Story by||Sudha Kongara|
|Edited by||Sathish Suriya|
Dream Factory (Tamil Nadu)|
Rajkumar Hirani Films
Tricolour Films (Hindi)
AP International (Worldwide)
Irudhi Suttru (lit. Final Round), is a 2016 Indian Tamil-Hindi bilingual sports drama film written and directed by Sudha Kongara. The film features R. Madhavan in the leading role as a boxing coach, with newcomer Ritika Singh as an aspiring boxer. It was simultaneously released in Hindi-language as Saala Khadoos (lit. The Snob), both versions are produced by S. Sashikanth for Y NOT Studios and UTV Motion Pictures, while C. V. Kumar's Thirukumaran Entertainment co-produces the Tamil version and Madhavan's Tricolour Films with Rajkumar Hirani present the Hindi version. Featuring music composed by Santhosh Narayanan, Sanjay Wandrekar and Atul Raninga, the film has cinematography by Sivakumar Vijayan and editing by Sathish Suriya. After beginning pre-production works in early 2013, the film began shoot in July 2014 and was shot within fifty days. Both versions Irudhi Suttru and Saala Khadoos opened on 29 January 2016 and received critical acclaim.
Prabhu Selvaraj (Tamil version)/Adi Tomar (Hindi version) (Madhavan) is a failed boxer who, despite being very talented, falls victim to the dirty politics in the boxing association. Ten years later, he is a coach for the women's boxing teams but is extremely angry and frustrated with the partiality in selection. Due to his rift with the association head Dev Khatri (Zakir Hussain), he is falsely charged with sexual harassment and transferred to Chennai. Despite the very poor infrastructure, Prabhu/Adi manages to find talent in a roadside fish seller Madhi (Ritika Singh), who he notices while she is thrashing the judges during her sister's tournament.
Ignoring Madhi's elder sister Lakshmi (Mumtaz Sorcar) who has been boxing for 8 years, Prabhu offers to train Madhi for a few hours daily. But the two don't get along due to Prabhu's/Adi's ruthless training methods and Madhi's aggressive nature. As a result, Madhi intentionally loses a local match. Prabhu later asks Lakshmi and Madhi's parents, Saamikannu (Kaali Venkat) and Damayanthi (Baljinder Kaur), to send them to stay in hostel with him so their daughters can work hard on training. Madhi misunderstands him, but later regrets when she finds out that Prabhu has sold his bike to buy new training equipment for her. Madhi then dedicatedly starts training with Prabhu and develops feelings for him. On the day of a qualifying match, she reveals her feelings to Prabhu and he promptly rejects her. During the warm-up before the match, a now jealous Lakshmi injures Madhi's hand causing Madhi to lose. Angry, Prabhu thinks that Madhi lost intentionally again and throws her out of training camp.
Dev takes advantage of the situation by calling Madhi to Delhi for a cultural exchange tournament and makes her fight with a heavy weight Russian boxer, who knocks out Madhi in a few seconds. A demotivated Madhi is then approached by Dev with an indecent proposal, to which she reacts by injuring him. Dev takes revenge by getting her arrested on false theft charges.
Prabhu comes to the rescue and bails her out. He later takes Madhi to Delhi to get her a wild-card entry into the World Boxing Championship. Many people in the association, including Lakshmi, accuse Madhi of offering sexual favours to Prabhu. Ignoring all the accusations Madhi works hard and goes on to win the semifinal. On the day of finals, Dev removes Madhi's name from the list and asks Prabhu to resign immediately if he wants to see Madhi in the final, with the same Russian boxer who knocked her out in Delhi. Madhi gets to fight in the final round but is dejected after learning about Prabhu's resignation. She keeps losing points in the early rounds and gets badly injured before Prabhu shows up at the stadium and indicates her to attack her opponent's arms to make her weak. Madhi follows the game plan and knocks out the opponent with seconds to go in the final round. Dev quickly jumps into the ring to take the credit for training Madhi but she punches him and runs to Prabhu. Madhi and Prabhu hug each other, showing their emotional reunion.
- R. Madhavan as Prabhu Selvaraj (Tamil version) | Adi Tomar (Hindi version)
- Ritika Singh as Ezhil Madhi
- Mumtaz Sorcar as Luxmi
- Nassar as 'Punch' Pandian, a junior coach
- Radha Ravi as Muralikrishnan (Tamil version)
- M. K. Raina (Hindi version)
- Zakir Hussain as Dev Khatri
- Kaali Venkat as Saamikannu
- Baljinder Kaur as Damayanthi
- Bipin as Innocent
- Olympic Devarajan as a referee
- Sanchana Natarajan as a boxing student
- Soubin Shahir as Aarindhunzaankumar
- Dileesh Pothan as Kunjachan
- Shane Nigam as Timkumar
- Bineesh Kodiyeri as Gnameesh
- Santhosh as Santhosh
During the production of her first directorial venture Drohi in 2010, Sudha Kongara began writing a sports drama film on boxing after reading an editorial in The Hindu about North Chennai and its boxing culture. Sudha consequently began gathering further information about female boxers and networked with Indian Olympic athletes including Mary Kom, in order to help write her script. In September 2011, she approached Madhavan, who was on a sabbatical from Tamil films, to portray the lead role in the film and his presence in the project helped take the financial viability of the venture to a higher level. The pair had previously collaborated in Madhavan's films under the direction of Mani Ratnam, where Sudha had been an assistant director. Portraying a retired boxer, Madhavan grew a thick beard and sported long hair for his role in the film, while embarking on an intense body conditioning regime in Los Angeles during 2013. Reports erroneously suggested that Madhavan was playing a role in another sports drama film, a biopic of the Indian boxer Mary Kom, and he clarified that he was acting on a separate film on boxing. Ashvini Yardi was initially announced as the film's producer and began casting real life boxers including fighters from the Super Fight League for the film. However then Y NOT Studios and Thirukumaran Entertainment agreed to jointly produce the film in May 2014, and Santhosh Narayanan was subsequently signed on to compose the film's music. The team also brought in director Rajkumar Hirani, as a result of his close association with Madhavan, to act as creative producer for the film and he helped doctor the script to give it a pan-Indian appeal.
The film's Hindi title was first revealed to be Laal and then was changed to Saala Khadoos in June 2014, with reports suggesting that the film would be loosely based on the life of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, a claim the team denied. The film's Tamil title Irudhi Suttru (Final Round) was announced shortly after, with the team beginning production from 14 July 2014. Two professional boxers from a boxing academy, Ritika Singh and Mumtaz Sorcar, who has done films in Bengali, were signed to play the two female leads. Ritika had been initially spotted by Sudha on an advert for the Super Fight League competition, and successfully auditioned for the lead character's role after being reached through the competition's organiser Raj Kundra. Kaali Venkat and Baljinder Kaur were signed to play the parents of Ritika and Mumtaz, while veteran actors Nassar, Radharavi and Zakir Hussain were all also signed on to play pivotal roles, and took part in pre-filming rehearsals with the rest of the cast. Action choreographers Stunner Sam from Chennai and Tom Delmar from London were signed on to work on the film, while Alexander Cortes worked as Madhavan's personal trainer. Madhavan's friend, actress Shilpa Shetty, also helped Madhavan gain and lose weight effectively during the period, doubling up as a dietician and fitness coach.
A small official launch event was held on 8 August 2014 and the team began a schedule shoot in Chennai thereafter. Scenes were shot in the tsunami-hit region slums of Srinivasapuram for the initial days of shoot. By October 2014, it was reported that the film was sixty percent complete, with most scenes being shot in the areas surrounding Chennai. The team then shot for a schedule in Dharamshala, before returning to Ooty to finish filming portions. Madhavan suffered a minor injury on the sets during the last week, but continued through the pain to finish the film. Filming portions for the venture were completed in mid-November 2014 after forty two days of shoot. Post-production works took place throughout 2015 and several potential release dates were evaded. Rajkumar Hirani's late inclusion in the project meant that he requested the team to re-shoot certain portions, with Madhavan regrowing a long beard after having removed it in December 2014. The team subsequently shot for ten further days in late 2015, while completing patchwork. Throughout the production of the film and dubbing purposes, Madhavan wore metal braces inside his teeth, in order to create the effect of having a lisp that most boxers have from sporting injuries.
|Irudhi Suttru/Saala Khadoos|
|Soundtrack album by Santhosh Narayanan|
2 January 2016 (Hindi)|
4 January 2016 (Tamil)
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Santhosh Narayanan chronology|
The songs featured in Saala Khadoos were composed by Santhosh Narayanan while the background score was composed by Sanjay Wandrekar and Atul Raninga who previously composed the background scores of Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots and PK. Swanand Kirkire wrote lyrics for the songs. The Hindi version of the soundtrack was released on 2 January 2016. The Tamil album was released at an event held at Sathyam Cinemas, Chennai on 4 January 2016. The Tamil album featured two tracks sung by Narayanan's step-daughter Dhee with lyrics written by Vivek and Muthamil.
Track Listing (Tamil)
|1.||"Poda Poda"||Pradeep Kumar||04:00|
|3.||"Maya Visai"||Vijaynarain, Sri Shyamalingam, Santhosh Narayanan||04:20|
|5.||"Vaa Machaney"||Sean Roldan||03:03|
Track Listing (Hindi)
|1.||"Saala Khadoos"||Vishal Dadlani||04:14|
|2.||"Dil Ye Ladaku"||Monali Thakur||03:22|
|3.||"Jagaa Khunnas"||Vishal Dadlani, Vijaynarain||04:19|
|4.||"Dhuaan Hai Dhuaan Zindagi"||Kalyani Nair||03:10|
|5.||"Jhalli Patakha"||Sunidhi Chauhan||03:03|
Marketing and distribution
Varun Manian's Radiance Media initially agreed to distribute the Tamil version of the film, collaborating with Y NOT Studios and Thirukumaran Entertainment, but later opted out of the agreement. The Hindi version was jointly distributed by Rajkumar Hirani's production house and Madhavan's Tricolour Films, for which the film is the first project. A teaser trailer for the Hindi version was attached to the theatrical release of Rajkumar Hirani's PK, while the Tamil version's teaser was also released with Prabhu Solomon's Kayal in December 2014. During the period of post-production work throughout 2015, Madhavan and Hirani held several screenings of the film to select audiences in order to observe opinions and gather feedback. Promotions for the film began again in late November 2015, when UTV Motion Pictures announced that they would also be a part of the production and would distribute the film alongside the other production houses. The trailer of the Hindi version Saala Khadoos released on 15 December 2015, while a differently edited Tamil version was released two days later. The trailers received widespread critical acclaim and were promoted by several members of the Indian film industry.
In early January 2016, the film began their marketing campaign with the makers travelling to Madurai and Coimbatore for promotions, after launching the Tamil version of the soundtrack in Chennai. With a publicity budget of 9 crore rupees, the promotions were described by The Hindu to be "unlike other film promotions in the South", considering that most film teams in the Tamil film industry do not usually tour around the state publicising their project. During his time in Coimbatore, Madhavan visited a college and delivered a motivational speech, while he also made several television appearances for special shows to be broadcast on Pongal and Republic Day. The team travelled extensively between Mumbai and Chennai to promote the film, while a further trailer for the Tamil version was cut and released ten days before the film opened. Before the release of the film, the team held several screenings to select Hindi and Tamil audiences and edited the film accordingly to the taste of the audiences. The team also held two première shows in Hindi and Tamil for the film industry, in the week leading up to the film's release. The satellite rights of the film's Tamil version were sold to Jaya TV.
Malini Mannath from The New Indian Express stated that Irudhi Suttru had "a finely crafted screenplay, deft treatment and some fine performances which make it an engaging watch", while giving particular praise to Madhavan and Ritika Singh's performances. Similarly, Business Standard stated that "Madhavan breathes life into the role of a grumpy coach with ease and élan, while the extremely impressive newbie Ritika Singh steals the show with a knockout performance", adding that "there's no way any other actress could've done a better job than Ritika in this role". Behindwoods noted that "Sudha’s Irudhi Suttru has all the emotional elements in it to strike a chord with the audiences and the lady renders a match winning performance" and particularly praised the "apt casting and performance" stating that "everyone from Madhavan to Ritika Singh to the supporting cast, has rendered their best performances". Sify stated that the film was "a perfect sports drama, which should not be missed" and added that "this inspirational effort has a superb screenplay with all the typical elements of a good sports film in place", while Rediff.com agreed that the film was "not to be missed", adding "its refreshing characters, enjoyable plot, great music and visuals keeps you hooked". IndiaGlitz.com rated the film 4.3 out of 5 and wrote it is "a must watch for lovers of good cinema which entertains and engages through out", while Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu stated it was "a heart-warming boxing drama".
Saala Khadoos received primarily mixed reviews. Bollywood Hungama described it as a "euphoric and electrifying film with amazing performances from the lead cast" and "is definitely engaging, and inspiring". The critic added "it truly deserves an ovation and is worth your time and money", while stating Madhavan "delivers an extraordinary and extremely realistic performance", while Ritika Singh "is definitely a revelation and a find of Bollywood". Critic Subhash K. Jha wrote "Saala Khadoos promised a rugged sports film and it delivers", while adding "the film itself doesn’t match up to the glory of its stunning visual velocity or its leading man towering performance". Other critics felt that the film "failed to rise above the clichés of a sports film", though CNN-IBN stated it "succeeds in creating a credible world and, thanks to affecting performances from its principal players, gives us characters that we can care about". Similarly, NDTV wrote "it has enough heart, it’s the heat that is missing". Following the success of the film, Sudha Kongara confirmed that she would remake the film in the Telugu language as Guru (2017) with Venkatesh in the lead role alongside Ritika Singh. Irudhi Suttru was later screened at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival during October 2016 and was then also selected to be a part of the Indian Panorama section at 47th International Film Festival of India. The movie has won SIIMA 2017's Best Film award.
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