Released: September 2014
Director: Omung Kumar
Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Darshan Kumar and Sunil Thapa
Length: 2hrs 2min
With the 2016 summer Olympics right around the corner I thought it would be fitting to review the biographical boxing film Mary Kom. As most biographies that are turned into film go, we experience the rags to riches (I use this term loosely since female boxers in India aren’t paid very well) story of Mary Kom. The beautiful Priyanka Chopra does her best to toughen herself up for this role but there’s only so much makeup can do.
Here’s a picture of the real Mary Kom:
And now here’s a picture of Priyanka Chopra for reference:
And this was the result of them trying really hard to make her look like a woman from Manipaur India:
Yeah, so my point is that it was terrible. But there aren’t many choices when it comes to Bollywood actresses that would have been a better physical fit for Mary Kom. I guess they did the best with what they had. That in itself just brings to light an even more upsetting truth, that there isn’t enough diversity in Bollywood film as there should be. When your pool of actresses to pull from pretty much all look the same, then you’ve got a problem.
In terms of performance Chopra did deliver one for the books. I do love that she is not afraid of stepping outside the box of playing love interests and action film eye candy. I gained a lot of respect for her when she played a mentally challenged girl in the comedy/drama Barfi!
Other than a great performance I realized why I really felt uplifted after I watched this movie. This film is a great example of what true feminism is. Mary is a woman. And I mean woman with a capital W. She is beautiful, she has ambitions and she has dreams. She is sexy and vulnerable, strong and weak. And the men that surround her allow her and encourage her to be all of the above. Her husband for example was her biggest fan. Not letting the stigma of being with a female boxer emasculate him. On the contrary he was able to prove his role as the man by providing for his wife and protecting her when she needed it. He took on primary care of their children when she resumed training after their births. Mary’s coach didn’t treat her any differently after she had children. He actually believed that becoming a mother made her stronger. It gave her an even deeper purpose to fight for. So in a society that continually puts her down and tries to stamp out her dream we see how successful a woman can be when she has the encouragement and support of those who love her.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Mary in Brazil this summer. It’s been reported by the Times of India that she plans to retire after Rio.