Saina is an inspirational story of becoming a great badminton player. Saina Nehwal (Parineeti Chopra) is a young girl who has just shifted from Hisar, Haryana to Hyderabad. Her mother Usha Rani (Meghna Malik) has been a district level badminton player in Haryana and she sees the same spirit in Saina. She decides to enroll her younger daughter Saina for badminton training. Usha makes it clear that she wants Saina to go ahead with the sport. At the stadium, a coach says that the batch is full and, therefore, cannot be nominated. But Saina displayed her skills and stunned everyone. Therefore, he is given a chance. Under guidance from her coach and inspiration from her mother, Saina’s game improves. Usha tells the coach to consider Saina for district level and other such tournaments and not to see that she is new. Saina emerges victorious in these tournaments. Finally, one day, he gets a chance to play for the Indian national team. All is going well till one day, just before their first match abroad, Usha Rani gets into a road accident. He is admitted to the hospital in serious condition. Saina has no option but to continue with her practice. In Prague, she manages to win the game and soon learns that Usha Rani is out of danger. Later, her mentor asks her to train with a better coach as Saina is now up in a big league. So Saina joins the Rajan Academy, run by a disciplinarian, Sarvadharma Rajan (Manav Kaul). Rajan was once a famous tennis player. He had too many endorsement offers which he turned down as it would spoil his game. He makes it clear that he expects the same from his students and if they follow his style and coaching, they can become top players. Saina follows all the instructions of Rajan. She also drastically changes her diet on Rajan’s insistence. However, a rift soon develops between her and Rajan. What happens next will be known after watching the rest of the film.
Amol Gupte’s story is inspiring. His script is effective and he tries his best to make his biopic for the audience. Amol Gupte’s dialogues (in addition to Amitosh Nagpal’s dialogues) are simple and conversational. Manav Kaul’s one-liners are quite sharp.
Amole Gupte’s direction is quite neat. She has kept the execution quite simple and the entire focus is on Saina Nehwal’s life. He has handled some scenes very beautifully. Saina’s relationship with her mother and her collaboration with coach Rajan are two tracks in particular that deserve praise. On the contrary, though Saina’s Journey is impressive but cinematically it lacks thrill.
Sine begins with Saina Nehwal’s recent victory and it’s a very unconventional way to start the film. The flashback portions are captivating and the scene in which Usha Rani suggests Saina to pick up the racket lying down and play it to win the trust of the coaches, sets the mood for the film. Another scene in which Saina discusses her diet with Rajan comes with a smile on her face. Two scenes in the first half will surely leave the audience stunned. The first scene is in which Usha slaps Rani Saina when the second comes and the second scene in which Usha Devi meets with an accident. But overall, the first half is mostly about Saina winning. Combat becomes the main focus after intermission. Saina’s fight with the coach is well designed. The climax match is fantastic and it is very exciting. The film ends on a lovely note.
Coming to the performances, Parineeti Chopra is in superb form and she manages to pull off a difficult role with ease. She looks confident as a specialist badminton player, but it is the court scenes where she really shines. Meghna Malik has to play a very important character. Human nature is natural. Ishaan Naqvi (Kashyap) is cute as Saina’s love interest. Subhrajyoti Baraat (Saina’s father, Dr. Harveer Singh Nehwal) is relatable and very good in the scene, in which she brags for Saina after getting countless shuttle-cocks.
On the acting front, Parineeti Chopra is in superb form and she handles even the toughest roles with ease. She suits up as an expert badminton player but one scene where she is outside the badminton court gets lost. Meghna Malik plays a very important character. Manav Kaul looks natural. Ishaan Naqvi (Kashyap) is cute as Saina’s love interest. Subhrajyoti Baraat (Saina’s father, Dr Harveer Singh Nehwal) is dependable and looks great in one scene. Ankur Vikal (Coach Jeevan Kumar) comes at a very emotional juncture in the film. He does well later but he overdoes it in the entry scene. Naisha Kaur Bhatoy (Chhote Saina) suits her role. The actress who plays Saina’s sister doesn’t get much to do. Rohan Apte (Rohan) and Sharman Dey (Damodar) fit in as Saina’s friends.
Talking about the songs, ‘Parinda’ is good and sets the mood for the film. ‘Let’s go there’ is soulful. ‘Main Hoon Na Tere Saath’ doesn’t attract that much. Amaal Mallik’s background score is well woven.
Piyush Shah’s cinematography is captivating, especially in the badminton scenes. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty’s production design gives the feel of a sports film. The VFX of Red Chillies VFX is commendable. Deepa Bhatia’s editing is perfect and the pace of the film is appropriate.
Overall, Saina gives a great overview of the best player of our country. Parineeti Chopra’s acting, dramatic and emotional moments and the right pace of the film make the film worth watching. Do see it.