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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



Badlapur Boys is a film about an old team-game, set against the water crisis in rural India

Badlapur Boys is a film about an old team-game, set against the water crisis in rural India


‘Kabaddi’ is a contact sport, born in ancient India, and has since gained popularity in the international sports arena as the only game that requires a strong combination of ‘knowledge’, ‘concentration’, ‘strength’, ‘stamina’, and ‘combat skills’. Our honest attempt has been to revive the spirit of the game, in the film, and rekindle the passion of the game in the hearts and minds of the people of India.

 ‘Badlapur Boys, is a poignant story of a child Vijay, who journeys through his life in a village, which is deprived of ‘water’ for irrigation for decades. The father of the child challenges the system with ‘self immolation,’ if the village’s basic need for water is not fulfilled. To set an example to the society, the father sets himself ablaze before the villagers and the media, but as fate would have it, his sacrifice is forgotten, and, instead, his family is affected. Vijay grows up with the dream that, one day, he will come face to face with the bureaucracy, with a simple request that his village, ‘Badlapur’, needs the government’s attention, to solve their ‘water’problem.

Vijay is enormously passionate about ‘kabaddi,’ and this is clearly evident to his parents, friends and the villagers of ‘Badlapur’. A time comes when his passion leads him to a dilemma, when he has to forcefully take an oath in front of the tulsi plant that he will never play the game. But his passion for the game doesn’t die. He remains being an extra player in his village team and watches his friends play.

For years, his village team has been losing every kabaddi match played in the village’s soil, due to lack of co-ordination, technique and knowledge. A time comes when he is freed from the oath and proves his mettle in the game, during an annual sports event, held in his village fair. Vijay and his friends are noticed by an eminent national kabaddi coach, whose lineage is from the village.

Meanwhile, Vijay meets a girl, who happens to be visiting the village fair from the town, and they both get acquainted. Both fall in love, and at the end of the fair, the girl has to leave for her town, promising to meet him in the next annual fair. News reaches the village that there is a prestigious kabaddi tournament being held in Allahabad city. An Award and Prize money attracts the boys of Badlapur, but Vijay is only concerned with meeting the Chief Minister, who will present the awards. His sole purpose becomes--to win the match, and, on receiving the award from the CM, Vijay aims to explain to him the impending crisis of his village. His dream becomes his late father’s dream, but, ironically fate takes a nasty twist once again, and Vijay loses his life in the game, falling victim to corruption and discrimination that prevailed in the administration of the sports.  His team wins the coveted award and the coach, who mentored the team throughout the sports event, expresses the poor young man’s views and his dreams to the Chief Minister, on receiving the best player trophy. Vijay’s sacrifice gets proper attention of all. The dream of his father sees the light of day, and the entire district, with 42 villages, get a dam, thereby solving the water problem forever.

Annu Kapoor plays the role of the kabaddi coach. The hero of the film, Nishan, has acted in the film ‘David’ and Subhash Ghai's ‘Cycle Kick’, along with many other Malayalam movies. ‘Badlapur Boys’ also stars Sharanya Mohan, who has acted in more than 16 South Indian movies, as the main lead. Although this is the directorial debut of Shailesh Verma, he has written various daily soap operas and movies, including the Salman Khan starrer ‘Veer’. Actress Kishori Shahane plays the hero's mother and Pooja Gupta, who had starred in ‘Vicky Donor’, ‘Mickey Virus’ and ‘Oh My God’, is also a part of the film. Other artistes who worked in the movie are Aman Verma. Boloram Das, Nitin Jadhav, Shashank Udaypurkar, Mazhar Khan, Ankit Sharma, Vineet and Shashi Chaturvedi. Music of the film has been composed by Shamir Tandon and Sachin Gupta. Words to the melodies have been given by lyricist Sameer Anjaan, which have been sung by singers Sukhwinder Singh, Shaan, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Shreya Ghoshal, Javed Ali and Ritu Pathak. Choreography has been done by Saroj Khan.


1. Kabaddi is also called kho-kho.

2. Badlapur is a fast-growing small town between Mumbai and Pune, close to Neral, in the state of Maharashtra, but the Badlapur in the film does not seem to be the same Badlapur.

3. Allahabad is one of Uttar Pradesh’s largest cities).


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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