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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Million Dollar Arm

Am I the only person who hadn’t heard about a reality show titled Million Dollar Arm that was held by Major League Baseball to find Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal) as the first Indians to pitch in the MLB??? Well I’ll be darned!!! Because apparently I am the only person who didn’t know about this!!!

Well, with a concept like this, it was a matter of time before it got made into a movie.  It is surprising that the journey took 7 years.  And at the end of it all, it isn’t the most impressive movie on the planet either.  Inspiring? Yes. But we have seen many more from Disney that were much better.

The journey of MDA started with a sports agent by name JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm).  Down on their luck and almost out, JB and Aash (Aasif Mandvi) – partners in the firm – decide that they need the next big idea.  And they need it soon!!! Over a game of cricket they decide that they need to target India as the next big market.

“Imagine a billion fans buying a billion caps and a billion T Shirts to support their newly found inspiration”.  That’s the pitch JB gives his investor Chang (Tzi Ma) who does fall for the line and gives them the leeway to work on the show in India.  And that is where the movie gets all stereotyped and I got a bit lost as well as peeved.

For crying out loud, India is not a place where everyone comes through crowded streets at all times!!! India is not a place where the only cabs available are black and yellow taxis.  There are air conditioned cabs available at the airport.  There are offices available in places other than a shady bye lane of Kalbadevi – or wherever it was that you shot.

If you did run this event in the right format, you would not have waited till you were half way down your trip to find someone who throws the ball at 80 mph.  Hell we play cricket and we have enough and more talent that bowls with a straight arm at those speeds.  I can bet we throw faster than that.

Somehow, I could not digest these points and it took away the fun of a movie that was otherwise reasonably made.  It was peppered with the right humour at the right places. The acting wasn’t bad at all.  In fact, with Alan Arkin in the cast, it had to be great.  Arkin steals the show hands down.  The others keep up but barely. The music from AR Rahman was also not his best piece of work by a mile.

In all, MDA was a movie that would have been great fun if it was a work of fiction.  I do feel proud about Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.  But the movie does little justice to the magnitude of the achievement.  It is a feel good movie with a bit of humour thrown in.  The stereotype approach to India didn’t help.  6 on 10 at best – and I am in a good mood.

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