Whistle Review: Makes an okay watch

Friday, October 25, 2019 - 13:00
Whistle (2019)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Whistle
Cast: Vijay, Nayanthara, Vivek, Jackie Shroff, Yogibabu, Devadarshini, Varsha, Monika and others
Music: AR Rahman
Cinematography: G K Vishnu
Editing: Ruben
Fights: Anl Arasu
Producers: Kalpathi S. Aghoram, S. Ganesh, S. Suresh
Written and directed by: Atlee
Release date: October 25, 2019

'Whistle', starring Vijay in the lead, is the dubbed version of the Tamil flick 'Bigil'. Released this Friday in a big way in the Telugu States, it clashes with 'Khaidi'. Let's find out what works and what doesn't work in the movie.  


 Michael (Vijay) is like a local don who can scare even a Minister with his guts. Due to his rivalry with powerful men, his brother Kiran (Kathir) gets fatally hurt. Kiran is a football coach and his team of women's athletes is left with no option. It is now up to Michael to become coach Michael, unleashing the dormant footballer in him.

There is also a flashback in which Rajappa (Vijay again) is shown dreaming about his son Michael becoming a national champion.

Who are Michael's enemies? What are the challenges that he faces in making a battle-ready football team? Can his dreams stand fulfilled? Answers to these questions are found in the second half.


Writer-director Atlee makes 'Whistle' as a mass-masala entertainer and not a sports drama in the zone of 'Chak De India'. There is a bit of 'Kshatriya Putrudu' as well. Football is there, but it's just a footnote. A Godfather-like father is there, but the film is not about him. It is essentially a Vijay movie. It caters to his fans from the very beginning. Vijay is called 'CM' in the first scene. You have to see it as a pun for 'Chief Minister' but the abbreviation stands for Captain Michael. That scene serves the image of Vijay in Tamilnadu.

In the movie's defining scene, Vijay is seen asking his students why they lost an important match. The athletes blame others in the team as school kids do. To teach them a lesson, the coach comes up with a quick, harsh plan. He also delivers a mini-lecture on team spirit. The footballers are transformed into broadminded players in a nanosecond. Don't ask how they came to the national stage without having commonsense or skill. It's a Vijay movie first and a Vijay movie last.

More than the sportswomen in the film, the director takes Nayanthara more seriously. She funnily runs away from her weddings, giving heartbreaks to her funny father. That's fine but the comic potential of the situation is not fully explored. The dialogues fall flat in these portions despite the presence of an able comedian like Yogi Babu. The rom-com track, thankfully, is not hindered by duets shot in foreign locations.

Jackie Shroff plays an important role and it's not difficult to predict the trajectory of his character. His demeanor and get-up are a dead giveaway. 

The second half has some interesting moments, and the final moments stand out. The football matches are treated as hurried episodes. The detailing is not adequate, one must say.  

It would have helped a great deal had the hero been teaching some nuanced tricks of football to his students. He is content with doing easier things instead.

The scenes involving the older Vijay and the younger Vijay come with some emotional connect. But there too, the experience is rather short-lived.

Vijay's performance is largely consistent and on expected lines. There is a bit of an 'Adirindi' Vijay and a 'Police' Vijay as well. Nayanthara is wasted despite getting a role in the story as a physiotherapist. The girls on the football team are okay. Among them, Varsha Bollamma and Monica stand out.

AR Rahman's background score gets loud at times. But, by and large, it just decent. The Sivangi song is the best. GK Vishnu's cinematography is another plus. Barring a few VFX shots and the stadium scenes, it's all the same kind of stuff.

Bottom line: 'Whistle' is not a sports drama in the strict sense of the term. It is a mass-masala film. There are more action scenes than the number of goals scored by all the teams put together. Despite the predictability, the final portions make it a decent watch.

Reviewed by: 
Vishwanath V