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Review by : Harish V
Starring: : Siddharth, Aditya Pancholi, Anupam Kher, Padmapriya
Direction: Chandan Arora
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj, Shailendra Barve, Gulzar, Blaaze, Amit Trivedi, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Swanand Kirkire.
Production: Studio 18, Indian Films.
Genre: Crime drama.
A name which we would usually associate with a commercial potboiler is actually a rugged life story of a lower middle class carom champion who has been pushed in to the world of gambling. This rather documentary style story on the age old theme of 'crime doesn't pay' impresses but only in parts.

Surya (Siddharth), who just wants to lead a normal life, is pushed into the world of gambling thanks to the wacky risk-taking friend of his, Zaid. But when Zaid double crosses local gangster Jaleel, for his own benefit, accidentally Surya is pulled in the middle too. Surya's life will never be the same again.

Chandan Arora the director, has got a pat on the back by many critics for his previous works and maybe he will get some this time around too, mainly because of the way he has told the story, the natural settings, and the ability to
have pulled brilliant performances from all the actors. Arora who is also responsible for the screenplay just loses it from the start. The story of his childhood with such intricate details is not needed and also the long carom game sessions test your patience. And after seeing how he learned carom in such detail, it looks rather disappointing to see how the director has shown the love angle of the protagonist without any detail or conviction. But once we settle down after a few frowns thanks mainly to the amazingly cute chemistry between the couple, the romantic angle is cut for no apparent reason and the effect of that on the protagonist's life was not shown either. A hard-hitting climax would have changed the overall feeling but again it just falls flat.

But the movie works to an extent, thanks to the excellent cast and crew choices. The cinematography by P.S.Vinod is very natural, the 80s setting has also been well captured. Editing by Sajit Unnikrishnan is not clean with loose-end scenes aplenty. Music by Blaaze, Amit Trivedi. Shailendra Barve, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Swanand Kirkire, Shailendra Barve and Vishal Bhardwaj works amazingly well with the visuals but Shailendra with his Cham Cham steals the first prize though. Dialogues by Chandan Arora himself seems straight out of life.

Siddharth after almost 4 years is back on the bollywood turf and has excelled as young Surya. He is believable and plays amazing carom (don't miss the scene where he pockets all the coins in a single shot). The remarkable ease at which he showcases his emotions is a treat. Aditya Pancholi after a long time gets a decent role and he does well. Vidya Malvade looks good and gives a cool performance. Nicollette Bird looks cute and before we start liking her role she is cut off. Anupam Kher is wasted. Seema Biswas & Anoop Soni portray their characters well. It the Bollywood debut of the southern siren Padma Priya, and she is again wasted in an insignificant role but she looks hot and does her job without much hassle. But its Ankur Vikal as Zaid who is a revelation, he does his work with excellence and competes with Siddharth in many scenes. An actor to watch out for.

The trailers and the song which has made Striker a news has showcased it to be a romantic movie with a sports angle to it and people expecting a cute romantic drama with a thrilling element in it would be disappointed for sure. Watch it for the amazing performance and if you are a carom board game fan.

Verdict: Striker misses to follow up the red

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