Captain: Strong Acting Can’t Salvage Weak Script

Captain V P Sathyan

The Malayalam movie Captain, a biographical sports drama, is a tribute to the former Indian captain V.P Sathyan. Written and directed by Prajesh Sen, Captain is an attempt to delve into the nuances of the life of Sathyan, who is a legend in Indian football. 

The movie describes the story of Sathyan from 1992, when he led the Kerala team to the Santosh Trophy title after a hiatus of 19 years, to his death in 2006. The biggest positive of this movie is Jayasurya who portrayed the character of the protagonist. The seasoned actor brought out his career-best performance and gave the audience a good account of the life of the legend. We could sense what was going through Sathyan’s mind whenever he faced adverse situations. 

There are moments that truly resonate, like the conversation with the Kerala CM before the Santosh Trophy final.

Hello captain, I called to wish you all the best. Mr. Captain, you promised me something (that his team will win the Santosh Trophy). I am just reminding you the same. Tomorrow is a holiday for Kerala. I have already signed the order to celebrate the victory of Santosh Trophy,” told CM to Sathyan.

V P Sathyan

The unfortunate injury he suffered and the way it was mismanaged which led to the premature end of his career has been well described in the movie. 

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The story and script were the weak sides of the movie. Football fans of Kerala who could never see Sathyan on the field would definitely like to know about the formative years of his career and how he developed a passion for the game. However, the film barely touched on his early career. In fact, he had played for India even before 1992 and had won the SAFF championship.

Mediocre is an understatement to describe the dialogue. Dialogues lacked authenticity, particularly the exchange between the coach and players during the first practice session. Lines by Sathyan like “My confidence is my fitness” fall flat. 

Another weak spot was the way the on-field action was conceived in the movie. As a biographical movie, audiences expect quality on-field game sequences and unfortunately, the film falters there. Disappointingly, the climax resorts to out-of-place video footage, reminiscent of college-level productions, rather than showcasing the intensity of the final match. The dubbing of the commentary scenes was abysmal.

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Overall, it is an average movie saved by the stellar performance of Jayasurya. The football fans will get a glimpse of Sathyan’s personal life, but the movie is held back by the narrative choices.

Where to watch Captain? – DisneyPlus Hotstar