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800 Telugu Movie Review - It's not a great spell!

October 6, 2023
Sridevi Movies & Movie Train Motion Pictures
Madhur Mittal, Mahima Nambiar, Naren, Nassar, Vela Ramamoorthy, Riythvika, Vadivukkarasi, Arul Das, Hari Krishnan, Sarath Lohithaswa
MS Sripathy, Shehan Karunatilaka
R.D. Rajasekhar
Praveen KL
Errol Kelly
Poorthi Pravin/ Vipin P R
Don Ashok
Dhruv Panjuani
Jitendra Vijayakumar
Sampath Alwar
Tapas Nayak
Ashirwad Hadkar
Pulagam Chinnarayana
S Sivakumar & S Bharath
Sivalenka Krishna Prasad & Vivek Rangachari
MS Sripathy

'800', the biographical sports drama based on the life and career of cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, was released in theatres today (October 6). Here is our review of the film.


Murali (MS Sripathy) takes 100 wickets in inter-college tournaments and becomes a star in his town among cricket enthusiasts. His coach encourages him to dream big. When Murali scores zero wickets in his first International Test, his career almost comes to a standstill. But when he storms onto the international scene with a winsome haul a little later, there is no stopping him. Murali's career receives a body blow when he is accused of chucking in the mid-1990s. Can he clear his name? Can ICC giving him a clean chit mean anything once and for all? How does he rise against the odds and go on to create the world record of an 800-wicket haul in Test cricket? That's what the film is about.


A biographical sports drama in a cricket-crazy country is not a risky idea. But what makes writer-director MS Sripathy's attempt a stand-out one is that its subject is not an Indian hero but the icon of a neighbouring country - Sri Lanka. And, the icon offended Indians by humbling heroes like Sachin Tendulkar on the field. The film under review has been targeted at the Indian audience as much as the Sri Lankans. As such, Murali's wicket haul that scared Indian batsmen has been conveniently bypassed by the film. In a recent interview, the legendary bowler said that he found Virender Sehwag quite dangerous, as he couldn't get his wicket easily. Just to make the Indian audience happy, wouldn't it have made sense for '800' to make a reference to it in a dramatic scene?

That's where the problem with '800' lies, despite its merits. The film doesn't know how to gratify the fans of cricket. Most of the scenes where cricket is being played (either in the stadium or in the nets), soaring drama is lacking. There is no force despite Ghibran's fairly commendable background score. Only one on-field scene is a rousing moment - the scene where the Sri Lankan skipper picks up a verbal fight with an Umpire after Murali is accused of chucking. But that's a moment that serves the skipper more than the hero about whom '800' is.

Murali's dangerous bowling action hasn't been portrayed with edginess. It has been done so in a bland manner. The first 30 minutes of the second half is flat. The drama picks up pace and momentum only in the last 20 minutes or so.

In a scene, Murali waits for his name to be spelt out by selectors. Just when his name is about to be announced, a blast takes place outside the stadium in the strife-torn region where the stadium is located. This could have been a cathartic moment that should have made us pity Murali's fate. Somehow, it doesn't happen. During the opening credits, the history of cricket is narrated as if this were a YouTube documentary. The dubbing is off. Murali doesn't seem like a sports hero talking but a Tamil hero talking in a Telugu-dubbed movie. The dubbing in the Telugu version of 'MS Dhoni' didn't suffer from this glaring flaw.

The unorthodox bowling action of Murali needed better portrayal in terms of cinematography and editing. The LTTE scenes (be it the riots, the curfews, or the discussions around the identity) feel dry because the Telugu audience can't be expected to have much connectivity.

The episode where the ICC examines Murali's bowling action in a lab-like environment is a good episode. The search for identity and the state of mind of the Tamil minority Murali in Sri Lanka have been brought out well. If you are a cricket-lover, you will want to give it a shot.

Closing Remarks:

'800' is a watchable cricket-based biopic, although one too many of its moments are under-written.

Critic's Rating