Saina Movie Review: Parineeti Chopra-starrer is an underwhelming biopic

Saina is a 2021 Indian Hindi biographical sports movie directed by– Amole Gupte and produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Sujay Jairaj and Rashesh Shah under the banner of T-Series and Front Foot Pictures.

The film is based on the life of Badminton player Saina Nehwal.

Saina Movie Review

Movie duration: 2 hours 15 minutes ⏰

Cast & Crew: Parineeti Chopra, Manav Kaul, Meghna Malik, Eshan Naqvi, Rohan Apte, Subrajyoti Virat, Ankur Vikal, Sharrman Dey, Sameer Bassi

Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Sujay Jairaj and Rashesh Shah 

Director: Amole Gupte


Actor Parineeti Chopra’s latest movie Saina is a mediocre biographical drama, which fails to do justice to ace shuttler Saina Nehwal’s life story. The film revolves around the badminton star's rise to stardom while touching upon the challenges faced by her during the journey. The basic plot per se is fine and has everything—right from the mother sentiment to the inspiring songs—that one would associate with a Bollywood movie.  

It, however, does not really reach its potential as the execution is as half-baked as anything can be. Most of the subplots—right from the patriarchal attitude of society to the commercialisation of sports—have not been explored properly. The dynamics between Saina and her mentor/coach ‘Rajan’ too have a bare-bones feel. This makes it difficult for fans to relate to the confrontation scene in the second half.

Most of the characters come across as caricatures, diluting the impact further.

The one thing that Saina, however, does right is that it tries to touch upon the lows in the badminton star's career. This, however, does not count for much as these episodes have not been sketched out properly. The makers of Tisca Chopra’s short film Rubaru had used monologues to bring out the insecurities faced by the protagonist. The makers of Saina could have employed a similar technique to highlight the impact of failure on her self-confidence.

The climax of the film is also not as captivating as expected as it lacks intensity. It may, however, still click with die-hard badminton fans.

Parineeti does not make much of an impact despite putting her best foot forward. She is strictly okay in the sequences set on the badminton court but struggles to add depth to the emotional sequences as she is not able to emote with her eyes. Her performance in Saina is, however, better than the robotic one delivered by her in last week’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar.

Manav Kaul tries to lift a poorly written character with his sincere performance, which may superficially remind fans of the one delivered by Samuel L Jackson in Coach Carter. Things would have been different had the makers given his character a bit of a backstory.

Meghna Malik, who plays Saina’s mother Usha, is the only saving grace of the film. Her ‘desi’ accent makes her effortless performance all the more relatable. The rest of the cast is okayish at best.

The editing is up to the mark as the film does not drag. The songs gel with the narrative while the background comes across as a bit generic in several scenes. 

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