The film Ghoomer is dedicated to disabled sportsmen who have not given up on their hopes of achieving something great in their lives. The real-life incident of Károly Takács, a left-handed shooter who had won two Olympic medals in 25-meter rapid-fire pistol, has been taken as inspiration. Under the able direction of R. Balki, along with the capable acting of Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher, Shabana Azmi, and others, the film has gained momentum. Amitabh Bachchan has also graced the film with his cameo role! The film revolves around the story of a skilled woman cricket player and how an incident changes her life, bringing out the skills of a spinner in her. The batsman-turned-spinner is gilded under the able craftsmanship of a retired sportsman who recognizes her true talents. Will Anina be able to overcome the challenges that she faces? Who supports her in overcoming her despair? Let us find out!
What Conflicts Does Anina Have With Padam?
Anina, a skilled woman batsman with immense talent, is noticed by the chairmen of the selection committee of the Indian women’s cricket team. During her selections, she comes across Padam Singh Sodhi, whose luck has ruled him out of the world of cricket. He had played a test match for India in the 90s, but after breaking one of his ribs in an accident, he lost his career. Padam had approached Anina on the field, and upon bowling, she had missed hitting the ball and had been stumped out. Padam tells the members of the committee that the girl is not fit for the Indian cricket team. He is told off by the members of the committee, and later Anina gets selected. When the team goes out for dinner, Padam enters the place, looks at the members of the team, and notices Anina. He says that a skilled bowler like him could not play in the cricket team, but unskilled new players like Anina were selected. He vents out his frustration and asks her if she has paid any bribes to get into the team. He insults her to the extent that she leaves the dinner, and Padam gets into a fight with the coach. On her way back, Jeet comes to pick her up, and while venting out her anger to him against Padam, she gets into an accident, causing her to lose her right arm.
How Does Padam Guide Anina After the Accident?
Losing her arm two days before the final match in England was traumatizing for Anima. She had gone into depression and thought that her career in cricket was over. She was experiencing phantom pain in her right arm, which was a symptom of her deep-seated trauma. Her family members and Jeet tried cheering her up, but their efforts were in vain, as she did not want any sympathy from others. Upon learning of her accident, Padam goes to meet her. Only in Padam’s eyes does she see not any sympathy for a crippled human like her, but a sense of belief that she could play again. On her birthday, she receives the greatest gift from Padam: a cricket ball! Padam tells her that her name, ‘Anina’, sounded the same even if spelt backwards, which indicated that she would remain a sportsperson even if she became a bowler.
Anina tries bowling at a cricket match that the children are playing near her house but fails, breaking her will. She then learns more about Padam from her grandmother. In January 1995, during the India vs. South Africa match, Padam Singh Sodhi played his first test match. He had broken a rib while making a run. After that incident, even after taking 42 wickets in the domestic season, he never got selected for the team again. She further inspires Anina by saying that if Pataudi could become the captain of the Indian cricket team with one eye, then even Anina could do it.
Why Was Padam So Strict With Anina?
Anina approaches Padam, as she realizes that he is the one who could again guide her towards a career in cricket. Right from the beginning, Paddy starts teaching Anina lessons so that she does not pity herself or think that the sport is going to be kinder to her because of her loss. On being unable to find the key below the heavy pot, Anina breaks Padam’s door to go and meet him. He tells her that when life closes the door to one’s opportunity, one should break it. He makes her create her own pitch in his backyard all by herself, makes her cook, and makes her draw water from the well to spray on the pitch, so that she becomes more strong-willed and does not underestimate her own talents. We see her regaining all her lost confidence, and she starts practicing all the regular chores with her single hand. He gives her tough coaching and does not let her rest until her bowling is perfect.
Padam expresses his frustration to Rasika, his housekeeper when she asks her why he treats Anina with such sternness. He says that there was nothing that magically solved his issues as a player. The corrupt system had uprooted his career, and he would not let the same happen to Anina after all the sacrifices that she had made. He believed that her talent, courage, and patience could help her get to the top. This indicates that Padam is trying to fulfill his long-gone wish for a win through Anina. He keeps training Anina to become a spinner, but in the process, she hurts herself. When taken to a doctor, she is told that straining her arm would dislocate her shoulder. He explains to Padam that there was less momentum being created due to the force on only one arm. He comes up with a strategy to put more force on her legs, which works wonders for her. Padam takes her practicing videos and sends them to Bishan Singh Bedi, the greatest left-arm spinner in India. When the video goes viral, Anina is called to the Indian camp by the committee members and then selected for the A23 one-day international match against England. The care of a true coach was hidden in the strictness of Padam, which had helped her regain her position in the Indian cricket team.
How Does Anina Perform In The Final Match?
Anina surprises everyone with her excellent spinning talent during the match. She showcases her incredible skills of spinning while shooting the ball, helping her to gain better force. People start questioning if that is in tune with the rules of cricket, and just then the know-it-all grandma intervenes to state that the law allowing this kind of spinning is Law 21 in the ICC book of cricket rules. Anina starts being called ‘ghoomer’ or ‘the spinner who spins’ by all the cricket fans! The England team constantly loses wickets to the Indian team, and just when the game is in favor of India, Anina hurts her hand. She, however, comes back briefly after the interval and again shows her incredible skills.
How Does Paddy’s Confession Affect Anina?
After Paddy confessed to her that he had caused the accident that night, Anina seemed to go into a trance. She, however, musters up her courage and goes into the field with a bat in her hand. There were equal chances for India and England, as 3 runs were needed for India and 1 wicket for England to win. Anina shows her incredible batting skills with just one hand, making her hit the ball off the boundaries, making them win the match. The passion to win the match had taken over Anina, and she did not want to let her sacrifice go in vain. Padam had trained her because he knew that he was the reason behind her grave loss. He wanted to fill in that void, not by showing her sympathy but by training her to reshape her life.
The Guru-Shishya relationship has been well depicted in this film. The bond that Padam and Anina shared was not that of sympathy but that of invoking passion in a person who is already talented. The relationship could be compared to the bond between Mahavir Singh Phogat and Geeta Phogat in Dangal or Kabir Khan and his team in Chak De! India. Padam did not let the loss hamper Anina’s life. He had faced loss and rejection all his life, and he knew the burden of it. He did not want another young sportsman to face the same issues that he had faced. He could have chosen to wake up and forget all about the accident, but upon finding that he was involved in someone’s loss, he tries to fill up the gap that he had created. The witty puns in the film ensure that the comic element is not lost, making the film a well-balanced presentation. There are not any loopholes that I can possibly think of, and it is hands down one of the best films by R. Balki, after some of his masterpieces like Padman, Paa, and others.