Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

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CHENNAI, India -- While Shah Rukh Khan starrer "Chak De India," which opened in August, dealt with the India's national but virtually dead sport, hockey, model-turned-actor John Abraham's just-released "Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal" is all about football, still a mad passion in some Indian States such as Bengal and Kerala. This work may appeal to football fans, but could find it difficult to attract others.

Helmer Vivek Agnihotri sets his work in England, where some sportsmen from the Indian subcontinent are trying to save their Southall United Football Club from ruin. It has no spectators, no stars, no coach, no sponsors and not even an owner. Threatened by the city council with eviction, the club and its team captain, Shaan Ali Khan (Arshad Warsi), rope in former football celebrity Tony Singh (Boman Irani) as a coach.

But Singh needs a star hitter like Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham) if the club is to win the combined county league matches and save its ground from real estate sharks, led by the city council and a sports commentator, Johny Bakshi (Dalip Tahil). Sunny, a second-generation Indian, is a thorough professional who plays for money and finds it hard to share the club's sense of Asian patriotism. His love for Shaan's sister, Rumana (Bipasha Basu), does not make things any easier.

The movie is wonderfully shot and edited to make the football matches gripping. The splendidly cast Abraham, Warsi, Irani and even Tahil essay their parts with ease and conviction. But Basu, as the team's physiotherapist, disappoints, largely because a flawed script: Can one imagine a medical practitioner screaming hysterically and doing precious little when one is hurt on the field?

For that matter, the script is full of cliched. Must we continue to make Sikhs the butt of our jokes? Must Indian-British relationship still hang by the thread of such inane terms like "paki"? Would any sports commentator be stupid enough to expose his designs on television as Bakshi's Tahil does? This is where "Chak De India" scores with its neat script and no-nonsense approach with none of the romance, dances and usual Bollywood numbers of "Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal."

DHAN DHANA DHAN GOAL
UTV Motion Pictures
Credits:
Director: Vivek Agnihotri
Writer: Rohit Malhotra
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Director of photography: Attar Singh Saini
Music: Pritam Chakraborty
Co-producers: Zarina Mehta, Deven Khote
Editor: Hemal Kothari
Cast:
Sunny Bhasin: John Abraham
Rumana: Bipasha Basu
Shaan Ali Khan: Arshad Warsi
Tony Singh: Boman Irani
Johny Bakshi: Dalip Tahil
Running time -- 165 minutes
No MPAA rating
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