Film Review: Jungle Cry

Film Review: Jungle Cry

Starring: Abhay Deol, Emily Shah, Atul Kumar, Stewart Wright, Julian Lewis Jones

Director: Sagar Ballary

True stories of an underdog’s triumph over a mightier opponent come with the promise of an uplifting watch and this latest cinematic release is no exception. After being derailed by the pandemic in 2020, the Bollywood Hollywood Production is finally set for UK screens this week and in India on the country’s brand-new streaming platform Lionsgate Play in June.

Rudra (Deol) is roped in as coach with the impossible task of training 12 underprivileged and orphan children from an institute in the eastern Indian state of Odhisa in rugby – quite an unknown sport for most in that region. He is under no illusions about the impossible task ahead of him but eventually tries to throw himself into things with full gusto.

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After a series of false starts and tough bonding sessions with his young recruits to help them through some tough mental health issues, Rudra succeeds in coming up with some ingenious techniques to get the youngsters to at least master the basics of the game. The odds are most definitely stacked against this team from nowhere as they train night and day for the International Junior Rugby Tournament in Wales.

From their tiny hamlets in an Indian village, the team finds itself in the chilly climes of the UK and it isn’t just the weather that will prove harsh to deal with. But with a little help from the team physio Roshni Thakkar (Shah), who is battling her own family demons, they may well prove all the sceptics wrong.

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‘Jungle Cry’ is most certainly a feel-good treat and a well-deserved addition to the sports drama genre. The fact that the outcome of the tournament is known does little to dampen the flow of the smooth storytelling, set in some of the remotest parts of India.

A very credible effort indeed in also reminding Indians that there are other games that deserve attention and resources, besides just cricket.

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