Seems like it is a season of football dramas in Kollywood following Bigil and Jada, comes in Champion to tell us a football tale yet again. Champion is the third sports film in a row this year from film maker Suseenthiran after Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu 2 and Kennedy Club. And it is the sixth sports film in his career. When it comes to sports genre, indisputably director Suseenthiran has a knack for it and an obsession as well. And the reason for it being the solid success that he tasted with the sports entertainers Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu and Jeeva. Since he has not tasted success lately, seems like he has turned to the genre which gave him the breakthrough in the Tamil cinema industry. If his last film Kennedy Club was based on Kabadi sport and women empowerment, he has picked up the journey of an underprivileged footballer who has to rise above all odds in Champion.
Jones Thiraviyam (Vishwa) is a government school student and an aspiring young footballer hailing from Vyasarpadi in North Chennai. He lives with his mother Jaya (Vasavi). Jones is very good at the sport but his mother totally loath it and rather wants her son to excel in his studies. The reason behind her fear is the death of Jones’s father Gold Star Gopinath Thiraviyam (Manoj Bharathiraja) who was also a footballer. He gets killed in the violent 7’s format football game. But Jones turns a deaf ear to his mother as his passion for the sport is so vehement. He receives constant motivation from his classmate (Sowmika Pandian) who backs him to pursue his dreams at any cost. Jones decides to take his football career to the next step and enrolls himself in a football club which is coached by Santha (Narain), a close friend of Jones’s father.
Jones begins to train hard under the guidance of Santha. But Jones’s focus on the game gets sidetracked when he learns that his father was actually murdered by Dhana Sekhar (Stun Siva), a gangster turned politician for whom his dad worked. All he wants to do now is to avenge the death of his father by hacking Dhana Sekhar to death. Now, Jones has to choose between his career and retribution for his father’s death. Will he give up on his career and take the path of violence just like his father, or will his coach Santha guide him to a secure path, is what makes the crux of the movie.
Director Suseenthiran has taken up the done to death North Chennai youngster seeking revenge plot and has ingrained the sports angle to it. Though, Champion is not the best version of Suseenthiran, he has rejuvenated himself to an extent with the flick when compared to the lackluster flicks that he delivered of late. Riddance of overdramatic elements, something we witnessed in his recent movies, has worked out well for him. Also, the swift screenplay helps to keep the audience hooked. But when the flick inclines toward the revenge saga which has been told more than enough in Tamil cinema, there is nothing new for the audience to experience as they know what is coming ahead. Perhaps, it is high time that film makers of Kollywood realize they have too much to explore in the background of North Chennai violence, than just create a heroic figure which initially claims to be in diplomatic path but ends up mitigating a violent behavior towards the end of the film.
Debutant Vishwa has done a neat job in the role of a footballer. His sports background as well as the labor he put to get in to the role is apparent on screen. But when it comes to portraying intense and emotion scenes he seems to have a lot to work on. Actor Narain has delivered a terrific performance in the supporting role once again after his limited scope role in Kaithi. Dub smash fame Mirnalini has done what she used to do in her dub smash videos, something which put her in the spotlight. Stunt Siva is natural and fits perfectly in the antagonist role. Actors Manoj Bharathiraja, Jaya Prakash, Vasavi, and Sowmika Pandian have delivered a decent performance for their part.
On the technical front, cinematographer Sujith Sarang has beautifully captured the raw nature of North Chennai’s sports locality but has been cut short in capturing the game play as he does not have much to capture. Musician Arrol Corelli’s background score elevates the crucial moments particularly the last heroic jiffy of Narain.
Director Suseenthiran as usual scores in the screenplay department and has reasserted his ability to pen a taut screenplay. But has he managed to deliver a solid film with consistency? Regrettably, it is clearly a no. The film which began as a drama that intended to narrate the circumstances that a sports personality hailing from North Chennai has to endure to make it to the big leagues, was thinned in to a personal revenge story.
On the whole, Champion attempts to be an ambitious sports drama but ends up being nothing more than just a template revenge drama.