Starring: Vinay Virmani, Camille Bell, Rob Lowe, Russel Peters, Anupam Kher
Directed by Rober Lieberman
The Canadian film Breakaway releases in India with a ludicrous title, Speedy Singhs, which tempers expectations off the bat. The film doesn’t try too hard to offer us much either. It has little that’s remotely surprising, most of it loaned from countless other sports films. Speedy Singhs follows the predictable graph, of the underdog eventually winning the day. Add to that a dose of the diaspora dynamics of Bend It Like Beckham and you have the tale of a young man from a traditional Canadian-Sikh family fighting a conservative, orthodox father at home and racist “goras” in the world out there. Newbie Vinay Virmani plays the role thinking all he needs to do is smile his way through it. He gets support from the nice, vacuous coach Rob Lowe and his pretty, and equally vacuous, sister Camille Bell. In the end, as we’d expect, our team of Canadian sardars emerges tops in the ice hockey championship. Meanwhile, young Vinay wins over his father, the “gora” countrymen and the pretty “gori” sister of the coach. The racism issue is handled in an all-too-easy, feelgood manner. There are downright bad performances, Russell Peters is insufferable, but the film makes for a breezy, at times even charming, viewing. The family, the relationships and those dinner-table conversations do ring true. And Akshay Kumar and Ludacris’ Sheran di qaum Punjabi, though deliberately thrust in the end as an item song, is an ear worm.