|Directed by||Sudha Kongara|
|Produced by||S. Sashikanth|
C. V. Kumar (Tamil)
Rajkumar Hirani (Hindi)
|Written by||Sudha Kongara|
Arun Matheshwaran (Tamil Dialogues)
|Screenplay by||Sudha Kongara|
R. Madhavan (Additional Screenplay)
|Story by||Sudha Kongara|
|Edited by||Sathish Suriya|
|Distributed by||Dream Factory (Tamil Nadu)|
Rajkumar Hirani Films
Tricolour Films (Hindi)
Irudhi Suttru (transl. Final round) is a 2016 Indian sports drama film written and directed by Sudha Kongara. Filmed simultaneously in Tamil and Hindi languages with the latter named as Saala Khadoos (transl. The Snob), the film features R. Madhavan in the leading role as a boxing coach, with newcomer Ritika Singh as an aspiring boxer. Both the Tamil and Hindi 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, with a background score by Sanjay Wandrekar and Atul Raninga (for the Hindi version), the film has cinematography by Sivakumar Vijayan and editing by Sathish Suriya. After beginning pre-production works in early 2013, the film began to 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. The film was later remade by Kongara herself in Telugu language as Guru (2017) with several members of the cast reprising their respective roles and Venkatesh playing Madhavan's role.
Prabhu Selvaraj/Aditya "Adi" Tomar is a talented yet failed boxer who, despite being very gifted in boxing, falls victim to the dirty politics in the boxing association, and loses his chance to go to '96 Olympics. 15 years later, he is a government coach for the national women's boxing training academy but is always extremely angry with the lethargic attitude of boxers and frustrated with the partiality in selection. Due to his constant rift with the association head Dev Khatri, he is falsely charged with sexual harassment in Delhi and gets transferred to Chennai to identify and develop new women boxers. Despite the very poor infrastructure, Prabhu/Adi manages to find natural talent in a roadside fish seller named Ezhil Madhi, who he notices while she is thrashing the judges during her sister's tournament.
Ignoring Madhi's elder sister Lakshmi who has been boxing for eight years to get a sports quota government job, Prabhu/Adi offers to pay and train Madhi for a few hours daily. Unfortunately, the two do not 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/Adi later asks Lakshmi and Madhi's parents, Saamikannu and Damayanthi, to send them to stay in a hostel with him so that their daughters can work hard on training. Madhi misunderstands him but later regrets it when she finds out that Prabhu has sold his beloved bike to buy new training equipment for her. Madhi then starts training with Prabhu/Adi and develops feelings for him. On the day of a qualifying match, she reveals her feelings to Prabhu/Adi, but he promptly rejects her. During the warm-up before the match, a now jealous Lakshmi injures Madhi's hand, causing Madhi to lose the chance to the Olympics. Angry, Prabhu/Adi 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 heavyweight Russian boxer, who knocks out Madhi in a 30 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, to be held in Goa 2 months later. Many people in the association, including Lakshmi, accuse Madhi of offering sexual favours to Prabhu/Adi. Ignoring all the accusations, Madhi works hard, enters the tournament representing India and goes on to win the semifinal. One hour before finals, Dev refuses to sign Madhi's boxer entry to the match and blackmails Prabhu/Adi to resign immediately if he wants to see Madhi in the final, with the same Russian boxer who knocked her out in Delhi. Prabhu/Adi resigns from his government job, and Madhi gets to fight in the final round. she is dejected after learning about Prabhu's/Adi's resignation. She keeps losing points in the early rounds and gets badly injured before Prabhu/Adi shows up at the stadium and indicates her to attack her opponent's arms to make her weak as Genghis Khan did to his enemies. 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 heavily punches him and runs to Prabhu/Adi. Madhi and Prabhu/Adi hug each other, showing their emotional reunion.
- Madhavan as Prabhu Selvaraj (Tamil) / Aditya "Adi" Tomar (Hindi)
- Ritika Singh as Ezhil Madhi
- Mumtaz Sorcar as Luxmi “Lux”
- Nassar as "Punch" Pandian
- Radha Ravi as Muralikrishnan (Tamil version)
- M. K. Raina as Rakesh (Hindi version)
- Zakir Hussain as Dev Khatri
- Kaali Venkat as Saamikannu (Samuel)
- Baljinder Kaur as Damayanthi
- Venkatesan Devarajan as Referee
- Sanchana Natarajan as Boxing Student
- Bipin as Innocent
- Ravindra Vijay
During the production of her first directorial venture Drohi in 2010, Kongara began writing a sports drama film on boxing after reading an editorial in The Hindu about North Chennai and its boxing culture. Kongara 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 Kongara 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. Singh had been initially spotted by Kongara 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 Singh 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|
|Released||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 (2010) and PK (2014). 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)
All lyrics are written by Swanand Kirkire.
|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 and the Hindi version were sold to SET Max.
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 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 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, Kongara remade 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 film also won several awards at ceremonies during the following year, with Kongara, Sashikanth, Madhavan and Singh all recognised. 
The Tamil version of the film collected close to ₹17 lakh (US$24,000) to total of ₹84.09 lakh (US$120,000) and ₹56.98 lakh (US$80,000) in first weekend. The film collected ₹19.93 lakh (US$28,000) in UK and ₹16.96 lakh (US$24,000) in Australia.
Awards and nominations
|2017||63rd National Film Awards||National Film Award - Special Mention (Feature Film)||Ritika Singh||Won|
|62nd Filmfare Awards||Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut||Ritika Singh||Won|
|64th Filmfare Awards South||Filmfare Award for Best Film - Tamil||S. Sashikanth||Nominated|
|Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil||Madhavan||Won|
|Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Tamil||Ritika Singh||Won|
|Filmfare Award for Best Director - Tamil||Sudha Kongara||Won|
|2nd IIFA Utsavam||Best Film||S. Sashikanth||Won|
|Best Actress||Ritika Singh||Won|
|6th South Indian International Movie Awards||Best Film||S. Sashikanth||Won|
|Best Director||Sudha Kongara||Nominated|
|Best Debut Actress||Ritika Singh||Won|
|Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards||Best Actress||Ritika Singh||Won|
|Best Music Director||Santhosh Narayanan||Won|
|Best Dance Choreographer||Dinesh Kumar||Won|
|Zee Cine Awards||Zee Cine Award for Best Female Debut||Ritika Singh||Won|
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