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The Anupam Kher film is likely to throw some serious punches – Beyond Bollywood


The trailer suggests of a tricky issue that afflicts locals and desis in America. Neena Gupta is playing a Telugu character.

Sharib Hashmi, Nargis Fakhri, Neena Gupta and Anupam Kher in Shiv Shastri Balboa [2023]

By Mayur Lookhar

Tales of the Indian diaspora are far and few in Bollywood. It’s always intriguing to have stories that aren’t run of the mill stuff.  The Anupam Kher, Neena Gupta starrer Shiv Shastri Balboa [2023] appears to be a promising film. The trailer was launched today [31 January]. 

A unique title but this is no tale of a pugilist. Shiv Shastri Balboa is no boxer but a ‘King maker’. He’s only fondly referred to as Shiv Shastri Balboa. The last name obviously is a tribute to Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character Rocky Balboa from the Rocky franchise. The desi film, though, is no sports drama, but it appears to be tale on the life of senior desi migrants in America.

The key turnaround in the story occurs when Elsa Zachariah [Neena Gupta], a Telugu Christian migrant reaches out to her new friend Shiv Shastri Balboa [Anupam Kher] to help her get back to India. A thief loots Elsa’s bag that contains her passport and other valuable things. Soon, she is arrested and put behind bars on the charge of assaulting a minor.  There is also an incriminatory CCTV footage Who is the child that Elsa has slapped? It could possibly be her granddaughter.

Neena Gupta in Shiv Shastri Balboa [2023]

American laws are pretty protective of children, and parents/kin can land into trouble if they raise their hands on kids. Perhaps Shiv Shastri Balboa [2023] aims to throw light on this aspect.

Another thing that catches our eye is the relationship between Shiv Shastri and his son [played by Jugal Hansraj]. There appears to be some gulf here. Shiv takes it upon himself to help Elsa but in this journey, he also harbors a personal dream – meeting the original Rocky Balboa, and possibly developing an affection for Elsa in this journey.

Nargis Fakhri and Sharib Hashmi are the good desi Samaritans who are willing to help Shiv and Elsa.

While the trailer is not earth shattering, but the film does seem to have an interesting story or stories at hand. Trust Shiv Shastri Balboa to throw few important punches. Watch the trailer below. Directed by Ajayan Venugopalan, the film is set to be released in theatres on 10 February.


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