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Shabaash Mithu review: Taapsee Pannu hits it out of the park as Mithali Raj

The difficulties faced by the Indian Women's Cricket team are depicted in the biography Shabaash Mithu, led amazingly by Taapsee Pannu. However, the screenplay of the film is slow-paced and spoils the play.

Shabaash Mithu review: Taapsee Pannu hits it out of the park as Mithali Raj
Shabaash Mithu poster

Last Updated: 09.07 AM, Jul 15, 2022


The former Test and ODI captain of the women's national cricket team is Mithali Raj. During the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup, she led India to the finals. Her journey through life in the realm of women's cricket is chronicled in the movie based on her life. It depicts her challenges and triumphs in women's cricket.


Sports biopics have a different take when it's based on a female icon. The focus reaches more on gender bias and how women have to survive in a man's world to make their mark. Shabaash Mithu also follows the same path. The film is a biopic based on the life of the former Indian skipper Mithali Raj, and Taapsee Pannu plays the titular role. However, the entire focus is not on her journey but also on the Indian Women's Cricket Team.

The rest of the team members, with the exception of Mithali, are given fictitious names, like Jhulan Goswami's character has become Jhola, and so on. We see less of a cricketing journey as the film mainly pays heed to how the Indian Women's Cricket Team received that recognition and respect for which they have been waiting for a very long time.


There are several moments in the film in which we see how people turn heads when the Indian Men's Cricket Team arrives in style at the airport, while the women's team are busy adjusting their luggage over excess baggage. There's also one scene where a fan asks Mithali to click a photo of her with the male cricket team captain.

The film is nearly three hours long and does feel like one. Although it focuses on Mithali and her achievements, the gung-ho about it is very limited, so to say. The long shots are mainly concentrated on the emotional aspects, and deservedly so. We could feel those heartbreaking moments when the women's team is not even provided with basic needs like the name of their jersey, among many others.

However, it gives more of a reminder to that of Shah Rukh Khan starrer Chak De! India (2007), which was a fictitious take on the Indian Women's Hockey Team. It seems like that film has set the next level of benchmark in sports-based films in Hindi.

There's even a speech in the locker room, and the whole setup gives the 70-minute vibe from the Shimit Amin directorial.

However, the most beautiful highlight of Shabaash Mithu is the "dosti" part between young Mithali and her best friend Noorie, who introduced her to cricket. Her shift from being a Bharatnatyam dancer to a gully cricket player is commendable given how she blended both of them to become an ace cricketer.

Inayat Verma plays the young Mithali, and after leaving an impressive mark with her performances in Ludo and Ajeeb Daastaans, she nails her part in Shabaash Mithu too. So does Kasturi Jagnam as Noorie.

Taapsee Pannu, in the titular role, has more to show her cricketing skills and technicalities rather than emoting and mouthing her dialogues. She plays the role of a woman who is a person with limited words. Apart from the fake teeth she wears, the actor fully invests in bringing stability to the character as Mithali Raj. Well, she did hit a sixer there!

But like the heartbreaking loss of the Indian Women's Cricket Team at the World Cup 2017, Shabaash Mithu also falters in its screenplay.

The slow pace and excess of songs give a dry feeling and make the film even look longer than its runtime. Moreover, it doesn't even take the story forward as it needs to be.

There are longer shots off-field, which is a different take on a biopic as it gives a glimpse into more of her personal life than her professional. However, you might want to see more of her on-field persona, which is choreographed absolutely well.

Even the supporting characters are shown initially with grey shades until they realise what Mithali is here for and why she deserves the undivided attention of many. She is shown as a team player and always thinks of teams first before anything else.

The screenplay by Priya Aven spoils the play for the film, which had too many opportunities to flourish and make for a better watching experience. However, the dialogues save the day in most of the sequences, which are given by Vijay Maurya.

The supporting characters, especially Vijay Raaz as Coach Sampat, are brilliant and show why he is an amazing actor and how a performer of his calibre brings his best to the table.

Srijit Mukherji, who has directed Shabaash Mithu, recently helmed Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga, which starred Pankaj Tripathi in the lead role. The latter film failed to create a mark among the masses and all things good can work for Shabaash Mithu if only he could have concentrated more on the execution of the storyline.

The film has its heart in the right place with an incredible performance by Taapsee Pannu, who will bowl you over with a role which is quite different from her previous ones in many aspects-be it the stability, body language, facial expressions and more.

Hopefully, Mithali Raj and Taapsee will be able to bring people to the theatre.


Shabaash Mithu is a biopic which has shown the challenges and opportunities not given to the Indian Women's Cricket Team. It doesn't get into jingoism throughout its narrative, making it a peaceful watch. But the excitement level of a sports-based film with the loud cheers and celebrating achievements is shown to be a big miss.


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