Cast: Abhay Deol, Emily Shah, Atul Kumar, Julian Lewis Jones, and Stewart Wright
Director: Sagar Ballary
Where to watch: Lionsgate Play
Duration: 117 mins
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
When tribal youngsters from Odisha won a Rugby Championship with the aid of a local mentor and an ambitious butter-ball coach named Paul, it was a joyous moment for the entire nation. It may seem unbelievable, but it is a true tale.
‘Jungle Cry’ is based on the as-yet-untold story of two coaches and 12 boys mentored by the Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, who had no prior knowledge of rugby, taking on the world’s toughest team on their home turf and defeating them in the 2007 Under-14 Rugby World Cup, pulling off a historic win for India’s Jungle Cats.
Director Sagar Ballary used the sports biography genre and infused it with patriotism, resulting in a movie that is rich in content. A genuine story of 12 indigenous youths who engaged in football coaching for various reasons. They are enrolled in a local football training programme by Rudra (Abhay Deol) for shoes, food, housing, safety, or simply to keep out of trouble. However, Paul, a Welsh rugby coach, wants to prepare them for the global rugby championship.
Rudra and Paul align their aims after considerable consideration, but these disadvantaged lads still lack shoes, equipment, and knowledge of rugby. The two trainers, driven by a strong desire to succeed and putting in a lot of effort, teach the youngsters in just four months, and the Jungle Cats literally take on the world.
Roshni Thakkar, the team physiotherapist and a continual source of inspiration for the boys and Rudra, is introduced to the entire team during their tour to Wales. Emily Shah, an Indian American actress and founder of Dharma Dry Gin, plays her, and she’s a fantastic find for Indian fans.
The film is about more than simply underdogs. It’s a reassuring assertion that athletics may help a youngster overcome adversity and establish a name for himself in life. The filmmaker did not spend time with patriotic speeches or displays of emotion, opting instead for a straightforward tale with a strong undertone.