Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

September 24, 2011

Hokey practice!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:20 am

September 23, 2011

Cast: Vinay Virmani, Anupam Kher, Rob Lowe, Camilla Belle, Gurpreet Guggi

Director: Robert Lieberman

Speedy Singhs is a bargain basement version of Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham, borrowing the exact same premise but leaving out the sharp wit of that cross-cultural comedy. Newcomer Vinay Virmani stars as Rajveer Singh, an NRI kid in Toronto who clashes with his father (played by Anupam Kher) when he defiantly pursues his interest in ice hockey, instead of focusing on his blue-collar job at his uncle’s transport company.

It’s a harmless by-the-numbers underdog story that taps every clichĂ© associated with the genre. Unable to secure a spot on the gora team, the hero assembles a local band of misfits who’re whipped into shape by a white coach (played by Rob Lowe) seeking his own redemption. In no mood to upset his father, the hero lies that he’s given up the game, then gets thrown out of the house when daddy discovers he’s been playing all along. Predictably the young chap falls for a white girl, whom he brings to an Indian wedding, where his family looks on disapprovingly. Speedy Singhs also raises questions about cultural identity and the freedom of choice, but these are both addressed and resolved in the kind of superficial, sanitized style that so many diaspora films before have mastered.

What’s crucially missing in this movie is a sense of drama in its sports scenes. You barely see the team practice or strategize for their games, which is why their sudden proficiency in the final matches appears contrived, and their underdog status repeatedly mentioned but never justified. What’s more, given that Speedy Singhs is intended clearly as a starring vehicle for Virmani, who wrote the script himself, you’re not surprised the film spends barely any time establishing a bond of friendship or sportsmanship between the teammates, choosing instead to focus on Rajveer as the central force of the team.

On the upside, the film benefits from some clever banter between Rajveer and Russell Peters, who plays the obnoxious fiancĂ© of his cousin. The soundtrack has some hummable hits, and leading man Vinay Virmani has a likeable presence. But the film delivers no more than time-pass entertainment because it offers nothing that you haven’t been served before.

I’m going with two out of five for Speedy Singhs. It’s old wine in an old bottle.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. How can u give 2 star for this..kya ye film h?

    Then u can giv 3 star for mausam

    4 star for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

    5 star for BODYGUARD

    Just watch these 3 films back to back then change u r rating to the movies sir.
    I think your rating is very poor.

    Comment by vara prasad — September 24, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  2. oh! what a waste of talented actress like camille belle BTW if u wanna see her real acting skills watch “when a stranger calls” and offcourse “10000 BC”

    Comment by shobhit — September 25, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  3. Mr Masand ..I think your are a Punjabi…Masand’s are….but this movie means a LOT for us Punjabi’s…it gives us the adrenalin that most Punjabi’s are loosing…it brings and connects us back to source…and its moved us.; Reviews and critics make sense when it reflects us all… starratings cannot be averaged for all communities…we don even take it seriously :-)… Thanks Akshay Bhaaji..Love you …

    Comment by Ajay — September 25, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  4. fail to understand why this movie was made !!!!!!!! waste of time and money…..it’s high time we get refund and exchange offers for bollywood movies…

    Comment by kamal — October 4, 2011 @ 10:55 am

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