Film Review: Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal


Film: Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

Director: Vivek Agnihotri

Producer: UTV Motion Pictures

Cast: John Abraham, Bipasha Basu, Arshad Warsi

Rating: 1.5/5


It is difficult to ascertain what exactly went wrong with ‘Goal’ except that everything did. Vivek Agnihotri, after ‘Chocolate’ comes back this time around with a sports film which has not much novelty or quality to offer.


Goal, is a story of an underdog team, a beaten ex-champ and a wronged superhero who all come together to fulfil a singular dream shared ardently by their people. In this plot is thrown in an angle of identity, racism, lust for money and an embarrassing amount of incompetence on the part of film-makers. Screenplay, dialogues and direction let down the film incredibly forcing it to constantly oscillate between ‘good effort’ and ‘pretentious’. 


The screenplay, to say the least is tacky. For a sports film which is based on the passion for the sport, emotions connected to one’s motherland and nationality and one which charts the journey of individuals from players to champion, it lacked depth or breadth. In an effort to control over-dramatisation casual dialogues and moments have been inserted which, unfortunately harm the seriousness and pace of the film. It is jerky in parts and tedious in others.


The film, inevitably invites comparison to ‘Chak de’ because of its similar plots and proximity of release. The comparison though ends there as the former has none of the seamless pace or surface tension that the latter so connivingly drew. The film, also draws comparison to ‘Iqbal’ and ‘Bend it like Beckham’ with many of its events and characters being similar to the two films. Alas, what was almost inspirational in them ends up as a mere repetition or a prop in this film.


Goal belongs to John Abraham through and through. After ‘No Smoking’, he is beginning to display a more mature side of himself as an artiste and also one who can entirely carry the film on his shoulders. He has worn the arrogance, stubbornness, frustration and taut edginess of his character quite well. Interestingly, Arshad Warsi disappoints in a role that either is limited in dimension or has been limitedly explored. Neither does the chemistry between the two main characters attract any empathy. Direction seems wanting at every step with actors and set-ups looking more staged than natural. Bipasha Basu looks refreshingly different in her simpler avatar here but has some ridiculously strange lines to speak which are embarrassing and not funny. Complete lack of attention to her character is evident making her into a typical female prop in a male-oriented story. The most surprising package of all is Boman Irani. The powerhouse performer, next only to Paresh Rawal in his brilliant performances, too disappoints. The problems elsewhere, manifest here as well. He seems like going through the mechanics that’s it.


Goal has not been well-written or well-directed but it has been well-shot in parts. The energy of the game and tenseness is communicated through in a style which becomes a little formulaic by the last match. The last match though keeps the pulse racing but still fails by the end for sheer ineptitude of scripting and direction. Editing does not really help and this makes the film sag or jerk a little now and then. There are only two songs in the film and one, the party song-is incredibly below the standards of a B+ movie with John, Bipasha and Arshad in its lead. The other one, the Goal anthem, is given short shrift and not played enough number of times during the film. Background score is forgettable and again does not help the story connect to the audience.


Goal may have slick trailers and a story which, even though brow-beaten is attractive, it still does not make for a worthwhile viewing experience. The expectations that it has created due to promos and John-Bipasha’s pairing are sadly not going to be met. The film may cater to a mass junta but will connect only with a certain section of South-Asian public in the UK. If that was UTV’s and Vivek Agnihotri’s original game plan then Goal just might be foreseen to be a success.