What’s it about?
Set in Yanam, the story follows a jolly youngster Sundeep (Sundeep Kishan). In seconds after seeing the girl Lavanya (Lavanya Tripathi), a hockey player, he falls in love with her. He frequents her hockey stadium. Slowly, romance blossoms between them. Much to the surprise and joy of Lavanya, Sundeep turns out to be a hockey player. Why he is hiding his hockey skills is another story.
Meanwhile, a corporate company plans to take over the land of the hockey stadium to set up a pharma company as it is close to the seashore and effluents can easily be released into the sea. What is the solution to save the land? Play a Lagaan-like hockey match.
Why Nani starrer “Jersey” clicked with the audiences and critics alike? It had an emotional core (the father-son angle) other than the sport. Moreover, it is based on cricket, which is sort of a religion in India. Almost, everyone knows about it and the rules of the game.
Other sports like hockey and football have limited fans. Invariably, making films on unpopular games is a challenge to filmmakers as they need to put extra effort to convince the audience. Sundeep Kishan starrer ‘A1 Express’, which is an official remake of a Tamil movie, Natpe Thunai, is Telugu cinema’s first movie based on hockey.
‘A1 Express’ begins as a regular love story, with Sundeep Kishan and Lavanya Tripathi’s romantic thread. Much later in the film, we get to see the bonding of Sundeep Kishan, Priyadarshi, and Rahul Ramakrishna. The actual sport played on screen comes very late. So, in a way, it is less of a sports movie, more of a regular commercial film that talks about love and friendship.
Sundeep Kishan has looked quite different from other films. He has put in a lot of effort for this role. He has shown two different shades of his role. His sincere portrayal of a hockey player is a major attraction. Lavanya Tripathi has portrayed her part well. For a change, she has played a role that has substance. Among other actors, Rao Ramesh and Priyadarshi leave an impact.
The film has its moments. Especially the final match sequences are handled quite well. There is also a major flaw. How come a hockey coach does not know about a former national player?
Bottom-line: Sundeep Kishan’s hard work, and sincere effort to look as authentic as a hockey player are appreciable, but ‘A1 Express’ takes plenty of time to come to the main point and has predictable moments. It could have been more engaging.
Film: A1 Express
Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Lavanya Tripathi, Murali Sharma, Priyadarshi
Music: Hip Hop Tamizha
Cinematography: Kavin Raj
Editor: Chota K Prasad
Producer: Vishwa Prasad, Abhishek Agarwal, SK, Daya
Written and directed by: Dennis Jeevan Kanukolanu
Release Date: Mar 05, 2021