• Saala Khadoos sticks to familiar ground as far as a sports film goes, although the climatic bout is genuinely thrilling. Amidst all the faux sentimentality, we still get a protagonist that we can’t help rooting for. That is the film’s real success.

  • Shubhra Gupta
    Shubhra Gupta
    Indian Express


    The fact that it is about women in a sporting arena– heck, that is a sports film– should be a thing to celebrate, and you can see that effort has gone into creating authenticity while training-and-fighting-in-the-ring, but ‘Salaa Khadoos’ is far too literally realized to be a really strong film.
    Unlike Madhi’s hero Mohammad Ali, it neither floats nor stings. It drones.

  • Hindustan Times
    Hindustan Times
    Hindustan Times


    Madhavan is brilliant as the coach who may have missed the bus but now wants to live his dream through his protégé. Ritika delivers in her debut as the expressive Madhi. The fact that she is trained in MMA comes across in the fight scenes.

    However, the film’s weak script and treatment lets them down. There are no nail-biting scenes and the drama inside the ring is also lacking. The film may be on boxing but it lacks the punches.

  • Sushmita Murthy
    Sushmita Murthy
    Deccan Chronicle


    Blame it on the other glorious attempts at sports films that have spoiled us or a lack of soul in this one, there are too many déjà vu moments in the film. It explains itself when in the end, the screen reads, ‘This film is inspired by many true stories’. That’s what we thought.  

  • Between its many, many confused, underdeveloped, raucous ideas, hides the film Saala Khadoos set out to be. Too bad it never made it to the screen.

  • Saala Khadoos, for all the storm that it seeks to whip up in the ring and outside it, does not string together enough points to be declared an outright winner.

    It has enough heart. It’s the heat that is missing.

  • Meena Iyer
    Meena Iyer
    Times Of India


    The film had great potential but it plays safe by taking the familiar route of the underdog becoming the champion. You know from the time when Adi picks up a wild child off the street and she over dramatically resists, that he will pursue her to follow his dream. Director Sudha Kongara also deftly weaves in an attraction between the amateur boxer and her khadoos coach, a man almost double her age.

  • Sarita Tanwar
    Sarita Tanwar
    DNA India


    Saala Khadoos is emotionally gripping tale with heart and a punch.

  • Saala Khadoos works because of the performances by its cast. Maybe the scene would have been a bit different had Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom not been released just a year-and-a-half ago. Watch Saala Khadoos for its lead actors.

  • Saala Khadoos is extremely formulaic and that’s where it falls flat. Strong performances do not save this predictable film.

  • …is an euphoric and electrifying film with amazing performances from the lead cast. It is definitely engaging, and inspiring. It truly deserves an ovation and is worth your time and money. SAALA KHADOOS delivers a solid punch. Winner!

  • Rachit Gupta
    Rachit Gupta


    It has the right balance of humour, drama and insight. It sheds light on the many fallacies of sports in India but it never gets preachy or boring. It always stays relevant and most importantly it engages you and entertains. This is Bollywood’s happier answer to Million Dollar Baby. And to employ the old Mohammad Ali adage, this one floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

  • …is nowhere in the league of a good sports film, but considering the release it is lined up against this week, it is definitely worth a watch.

  • Madhavan is excellent as a disgruntled failure and he displays raw passion when grunting and swearing from the ringside. But, unfortunately, much of it doesn’t seem to work as the film, scene after scene, falls into a predictable rut and a ho-hum climax doesn’t salvage the matter either. You walk out of the film feeling tad disheartened instead of that triumphant feeling that you expect from a movie belonging to this genre.

  • Despite the flaws, it’s the performances that redeem the movie. R Madhavan’s imposing as the bulky coach, who, despite his eccentricities and downfalls, never lets his passion die. He’s matched brilliantly by Ritika Singh, who captures Madhi’s fractured world with striking strokes. However, Adi and Madhi never emerge heroes, and that’s a failing on the writing.

    While ‘Saala Khadoos’ has some powerful moments, it’s not a knockout!

  • Subhash K Jha
    Subhash K Jha


    Alas, the film itself doesn’t match up to the glory of its stunning visual velocity or its leading man​’s ​ towering performance. This is Madhavan’s Raging Bull. By far his career’s finest performance. The film could have been better, though. Much better.

  • The story arc is very dull and in parts, meaningless, despite borrowing parts from many sports and boxing films we have seen.

  • Manisha Lakhe
    Manisha Lakhe


    The movie deserves praise for sticking to the sports underdog-movie formula and offering us a decent watch. Madhavan as always is delicious on the screen, despite being given the instructions that he has to be Khadoos (crotchety) all the time. Once you get used to the even louder student (marvelously played by newcomer Ritika Singh), the film sort of grows on you. But the predictability of the story makes its 109 minutes feel like three hours.

  • You feel sorry for the guys punching above their weight here. I’m not sure if Mary Kom (2014) is the reason this wholly humourless film simultaneously moves in so many directions. The core inspiration is obvious. The story does lead up to the world boxing championship.

  • The direction could be easily blamed for generating repetitiveness, but I beg to differ. I wouldn’t call this bad direction, but just a different treatment. The only issue I had with the film is the insistent soundtracks – although at times it only propels the narration, there are those moments when the bombardment of music breaks your focus on the script. Tame down the abrasive narration a bit too, may be?

  • Pooja Pande
    Pooja Pande


    The film is crisp, and does not stray away from its USP at any point – its emotional connection with us, the audience. The story is clichéd, honestly, and doesn’t give us something hatke. However, the story of grit and dedication tasting success is always a very romantic one, and therefore, the film is right in the feels. The execution is quite simple and hence, super.

  • Sreeju Sudhakaran
    Sreeju Sudhakaran
    Bollywood Life


    Saala Khadoos could have been a decent sports drama, if it had the touch of a master storyteller like Shimit Amin. Sadly, it turns out to be neither as memorable as Chak De India, nor as inspiring as Priyanka Chopra’s Mary Kom. At best, Saala Khadoos is a strictly average affair! Watch it only for the performances of the lead actors!

  • The film does have its share of endearing moments. One of them is a poster saying ‘Harty Welcome’ when Adi arrives in Chennai. One wishes the film had other such insights that made it different from the rest. Sadly, the film chooses to walk the predictable path, instead of carving its own.

  • The drama though limited, is very typical to that of any film which wants a grand finale. This unfortunately, makes the film even more predictable than it already is.

  • Namrata Joshi
    Namrata Joshi
    The Hindu


    Saala Khadoos is unable to rise above the predictability and time worn clichés of an average sports movies. One hopes the Tamil version would have come together better.

  • The nail-biting fight sequences will keep you on the edge of your seat. The series of events unfold in such a way that it will keep you hooked. Saala Khadoos also throws light on the age-old issues of bribery, sexism and corruption prevailing in our society which have been one of the top-debated topics in Bollywood.

  • The film may lack a little emotion but it can surely be watched for the sport genre and Madhavan’s knockout performance and on any given day, this film is 100 times better than Mastizaade which even Sunny Leone could not save.

  • The beauty of Saala Khadoos is that it’s building to a finale that you can see from light years: a grand international match with a badass Russian boxer who, we all know, will be biting the dust by the end of it. You see, the writers have done such a fine job that it doesn’t shock the viewers at all.

  • Saala Khadoos’ flaws overpower its genuineness. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a shallow film, but there is a serious lack of heart that cannot be compensated for. 

  • Saala Khadoos packs in many issues that affect female Indian athletes – poor sporting infrastructure, indifferent and corrupt government officials, and sexual harassment by coaches, selectors and administrators. The movie seeks to warn young women of the perils that could befall them if they lay themselves bare for the glory of the game and the nation. It doesn’t exactly seem to be the appropriate place to suggest that it is perfectly alright for a young boxer to fall in love with a coach who is twice her age, but Saala Khadoos goes right ahead and does just that.

  • …a well made sports drama with exceptional performances especially from the lead starcast, a good and gripping storyline and also good music.

  • “Saala Khadoos” has all the ‘givens’ in a sports film—it has the usual story of the triumph of the underdog thanks to an impassioned coach, spotlights sports politics, defeat, humiliation, demoralization and finally the triumph of not only merit over politics, but also the protagonist and the teacher.