Directed by: Shubham Singh
Starring: Lukram Smil, Kay Kay Menon, Shashank Arora, Manjot Singh
Genre: Drama, Family, Sport
Release date: 19 July 2019
Running Time: 128 Minutes
A story of a North-east Indian football player who’s fighting day and night with the society in order to achieve his dreams. The film covers all kinds of layers in one single film from negative backlashes, social pressures to a complete change over in one’s life.
Penalty is an upcoming Hindi movie scheduled to be released on 26 July, 2019. The movie is directed by Shubham Singh and will feature Shashank Arora, Kay Kay Menon and Manjot Singh as lead characters.
Penalty: Movie Trailer
Penalty: Movie Review
Lukram (Lukram Smil), hailing from Manipur, enrolls in a college in Lucknow as it is famous for producing International level footballers. His roommate Ishwar Singh (Manjot Singh) is a forward in the college team and arranges a place for Lukram in the trials. He impresses assistant coach Parth (Shashank Arora) who recommends him for the final 11. However, Lukram faces discrimination from other players. Discouraged, he goes back to his native village. Upon counselling from his former coach, he returns and joins another team. He showcases his brilliance in an exhibition match against the college team. His sportsmanship convinces team manager Vikram Singh (Kay Kay Menon), who was always against ‘outsiders’ to recall him back. Lukram ends up playing the national level finals as the college team captain…
It’s a sad fact that while we revere sports heroes like Sunil Chettri, Baichung Bhutia, and Mary Kom, the common people from North East face racial discrimination in their day-to-day lives. They are routinely mistaken for being Chinese and of late there have been instances of North Eastern students being targeted by miscreants in various educational institutions. We turn a blind eye to such things more often than not. Keeping sports as a motif, the film teaches us that inclusion, not exclusion is the answer. The change of heart that Kay Kay’s character undergoes is needed on a mass scale. Otherwise exclusion will only weaken our unity and integrity as a nation.
But the film isn’t just a cautionary tale. It’s a true-blue sports drama as well. Football, as it is played at the ground level, is captured intelligently in the film. The passion of the players, the coaches, fighting for their place in the sun in our cricket crazy nation, is nicely brought out. It feels like one’s actually seeing genuine football practice. And the matches have all the hallmarks of amateur level footballing. Kudos to cinematographer Mateusz Golebiewski, who not only has captured the beauty of the North East but also the sports action quite well.
The film is well-written overall. Though it segues into romance for a bit, before pulling out of it with a jerk, providing the only bump into its otherwise smooth flow. Newcomer Lukram has done justice to his character. The tribulations of looking different come out nicely through his expressions. Shashank Arora as the well-meaning coach and Manjot Singh as the loyal friend are as dependable as ever. Kay Kay Menon owns the screen through his effortless acting. His breakdown in the climax has just the right amount of anger and resentment and offers a lesson to all budding actors.
It’s not often that an actor from the North East is taken as the lead in our films. Director Shubham Singh should be lauded for his bold move. This underdog drama shouldn’t be missed because it touches upon topics which need immediate redressal. If we don’t act now, we truly will have to pay a penalty for our inaction in the future…