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“Maidaan” Movie Review: Ajay Devgn Kicks the Ball Out of the Park in the Sports Drama

Our Rating: 4.0/5


The movie follows India’s greatest football coach, SA Rahim, and his decade-long lone journey in ushering in the sport’s Golden Era. Set against the backdrop of the 1950s and 60s, when Indian football earned the moniker “Brazilians of Asia,” “Maidaan” pays homage to Syed Abdul Rahim, hailed as the greatest football coach and manager India has seen.


  • The sweat and blood on the turf during the Golden Era of Indian football earned the team accolades. Legends like Chuni GoswamiP. K. BanerjeePeter ThangarajTulsidas BalaramJarnail Singh, and Pradyut Barman brought home gold medals at the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games and finished fourth at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956—the best-ever finish.
  • But “Maidaan” delves deeper. It immortalizes not only the beleaguered behemoth that the Indian football team was but also Rahim as a tactician and a revolutionary coach.
  • Ajay Devgn shines as Rahim, becoming a larger-than-life figure despite his quiet, understated, dignified demeanor. His portrayal captures the essence of a man who believed in the nation’s potential as a football giant. Rahim handpicked the best talents, harnessed their prowess, and built a world-class team.
  • The film skillfully weaves in the era’s politics, the football federation’s challenges, and an influential sports journalist, Roy Choudhary (played brilliantly by Gajraj Rao), who was Rahim’s biggest naysayer.
  • Director Amit Ravindernath Sharma masterfully orchestrates the narrative. The screenplay by Saiwyn Quadras, cinematography by Tushar Kanti Ray, and the evocative soundtrack and background score by A. R. Rahman make the movie as exciting as FIFA finale matches.
  • The final match between India and South Korea at the Asian Games 1962 is a pivotal moment. Rahim’s speech on the power of one—where he emphasizes that while there will be 11 players on the field, it will be ‘one’ team—sets the tone. The whole cast and crew mirror this sentiment.
  • Priyamani, as Rahim’s wife Saira, delivers an impressive performance in every scene.
  • The film keeps you hooked, cheering, and moved throughout. It’s a celebration of football, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a coach who changed the game.

In summary, “Maidaan” is not just about football; it’s about passion, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Ajay Devgn’s portrayal of Rahim is a testament to the unsung heroes who shaped Indian sports history.

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