Captain Review: An emotional tribute to the legendary VP Sathyan!

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Sporting biopics are the current flavour of Indian cinema. Movies on sports personalities are being churned one after another, especially in Bollywood. However, in a regional industry like Malayalam, sports biopics or for that matter even biopics are a rarity. Jayasurya’s latest film ‘Captain’ is one such rare film. The movie directed by debutant Prajesh Sen is inspired from the real life of late footballer VP Sathyan who led the Indian team from 1991 to 1995. Let’s take a look at how Captain has turned out to be.

Captain is not just another rags to riches story that we usually associate with movies based on sporting icons. It is actually a poignant story of a fallen hero who succumbed to his undying passion for football. The narrative goes backs and forth travelling through different timelines. Rather than celebrating Sathyan’s victories, the movie showcases his failures and desperation to not let the long-standing injury ruin his football career. Eventually, the agony of being unable to play the game any further slips Sathyan into a state of depression.

All this while there was one person who stood with him through thick and thin – his wife Anitha. There are quite a few scenes where we are made to feel empathetic for her. Eventhough the movie was touted as a sports biopic it has very little sporting action. Most of the events occur outside the field as the makers have largely focussed on exploring Sathyan’s physical and mental state.

Jayasurya carries the movie almost entirely on his shoulders before Anu Sithara joins him in the latter half. The former as always has given an extraordinary performance that could easily stand among his top 3. Jayasurya gets his real act not as the footballer Sathyan but the commoner that Sathyan was. As a sportsperson, he looked very stiff and mechanical, anx the excessive usage of slow motion didn’t help either. But when it comes to showcasing the other side of Sathyan, Jayasurya has nailed it. A particular scene just before the interval block had the actor at his absolute best. Of course, Anu Sithara was there at the other end complementing him well. Her final breakdown is sure to tug at one’s heartstrings.

Apart from the two lead actors, the other notable performers in the cast were Siddique and Deepak Parambol. Renji Panicker’s act as the coach who delivers powerful inspiring dialogues was nothing but a full blown clich√©.

Director Prajesh Sen, who has also scripted the movie, has faltered at many occasions but the earnestness with which he has made the movie without any commercial compromises deserves appreciation. One thing I would like to point out is about the need for that epilogue showing the national spirit. That stood apart like a desperate attempt to play it to the gallery.

On the technical side, Captain is a very mediocre product. Except for the opening and the climax shoot out scenes, there is rarely a momemt of excitement while watching the football portions. The overuse of slowmotion further adds to that. Gopi Sunder’s background score is apt with an inspiring theme song.

Overall, Captain deserves a watch for it is the story of VP Sathyan, an unsung hero in Indian football history. Watch it from big screen to know more about a man who loved football more than anything else in the world.

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