After cricket (Lagaan) and hockey (Chak De India), it's the turn of football to get the Bollywood treatment in Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal. Spotting soccer's growing popularity in India, director Vivek Agnihotri presents John Abraham as Bollywood's answers to Beckham. But instead of a plush pitch in LA or Mumbai stadium, the goal action takes place in London, where an underdog British Asian team battles against racism and financial ruin. Unfortunately a narrow-minded portrayal of multicultural Britain relegates this flick to the lower leagues.
As the captain of Southall United FC, Shaan (Arshad Warsi) struggles to keep his team afloat. With no stars, coach, sponsors or spectators, he is dealt another blow when the council announces the sale of the ground to redevelopers, unless he can put up three million pounds for its lease. Hiring disgraced former player Tony Singh (Boman Irani), the pair attempt to turn the club's fortunes around by winning a major national tournament for cash. But can a motivational tour of Wayne Rooney's locker room at Old Trafford, and good old fashioned emotional blackmail convince star striker Sunny Singh (Abraham) to ditch his premiership dreams in favour of joining the underdogs?
"CLICHES OF BRITISH ASIAN LIFE AND SPORT"
While there is undoubtedly a lack of representation of Asians in English football, if Agnihotri's vision of the sport is to be believed, then all football players are pure-bred prejudiced Englishmen and any Asian players who choose to play for their country would be selling out their communities. By relying on outdated stereotypes of racism within sport and cliches of British Asian life, Dhan Dana Dhan Goal fails to boost football's image amongst Asian fans, Where the likes of Bend It Like Beckham succeeded. Even Abraham's superior ball skills aren't enough to save this film from scoring an own goal. A missed opportunity.
Dhan Dana Dhan Goal is out in the UK on 23rd November 2007.