Chandu Champion Review: Kartik Aaryan’s Resilient Performance Shines in an Inspiring Biographical Drama

Chandu Champion Review: Kartik Aaryan’s performance in Chandu Champion is a striking testament to his versatility as an actor. Directed by Kabir Khan, this biographical sports drama is based on the life of Murlikant Petkar, India’s first Paralympics gold medallist. The film intricately portrays Murli’s journey from an underdog to a celebrated champion, bringing to life a story that, as one of the characters aptly puts it, “is difficult to believe, but important to tell.” Through its balanced narrative, strong performances, and emotional depth, Chandu Champion emerges as a compelling addition to Bollywood’s repertoire of sports dramas.

A Hero’s Journey Unfolds

The story begins with an elderly Murli (played by Kartik Aaryan) sitting in a police station, narrating his life’s tale to a group of curious cops. This narrative device effectively sets the stage for a series of flashbacks that take the audience through Murli’s remarkable journey. From being an ambitious teenager obsessed with winning an Olympic gold medal to becoming a ‘Wonder Boy from India’ through his boxing prowess, and finally, to his transformation post the 1965 Kashmir war where he is grievously injured. Despite being paralyzed from the waist down, Murli’s indomitable spirit leads him to conquer new challenges, culminating in his gold medal at the Paralympics.

A Mesmerizing Performance

Kartik Aaryan’s portrayal of Murlikant Petkar is nothing short of mesmerizing. His dedication to the role is evident in his physical transformation and the nuanced performance he delivers. Kartik brings Murli’s personality and resilience to life with a seamless blend of intensity and subtlety. His ability to balance comic timing with emotionally charged scenes is particularly commendable. Whether he is depicting the youthful exuberance of a young Murli or the wisdom and determination of the older Murli, Kartik’s performance is consistent and compelling.

Kabir Khan’s Direction

Kabir Khan’s directorial prowess shines through in Chandu Champion. Known for his ability to blend historical narratives with emotional depth, Kabir successfully brings Murli’s story to the big screen with sensitivity and respect. By choosing not to mount this real-life story on a grandiose canvas, he allows the simplicity and subtlety of the tale to take center stage. Kabir’s decision to infuse humor into the storytelling makes the narrative more relatable and light-hearted, without diminishing the gravitas of Murli’s journey. This approach is particularly evident in scenes like the training sequence at the army camp and Murli’s first flight experience.

Highs and Lows of the Screenplay

The screenplay, co-written by Kabir Khan, Sumit Arora, and Sudipto Sarkar, captures several high points of Murli’s life while maintaining a non-linear narrative. The first half of the film is particularly engaging, as it chronicles Murli’s early ambitions and the adversities he faces. However, the second half loses some of its momentum, with the story becoming slightly repetitive. Despite this uneven pacing, the strength of Kartik’s performance and Kabir’s direction bring the narrative back on track.

An Authentic Depiction

One of the strengths of Chandu Champion is its authentic depiction of Murli’s struggles and triumphs. The film does not shy away from showing the harsh realities of his life – from the bullets he took during the war to his grueling rehabilitation process. By not presenting Murli as an undefeatable hero, the film stays grounded and relatable. It is Murli’s human qualities – his determination, hard work, and resilience – that make his story so inspiring.

Supporting Characters and Performances

While Kartik Aaryan remains the focal point of the film, the supporting characters significantly enhance the narrative. Bhuvan Arora as Karnail Singh, Murli’s friend and fellow soldier, delivers a rock-solid performance. His camaraderie with Kartik is palpable and adds a layer of warmth to the story. Aniruddh Dave, in the role of Murli’s brother, makes a significant impact despite his limited screen time. Vijay Raaz, as the boxing coach Tiger Ali, is exceptional. He brings depth to his character, moving beyond his usual comic roles to offer a performance rich in emotion and substance.

Music and Cinematography

The music of Chandu Champion, while not extraordinary as standalone tracks, complements the narrative effectively. Songs like Sarphira and Satyanaas blend seamlessly with the story, enhancing the emotional undertones of key scenes. The cinematography captures the essence of Murli’s journey beautifully, from the vibrant streets of his youth to the stark, challenging environments of his army training and subsequent rehabilitation.

A Missed Opportunity: Murli’s Personal Life

One aspect where the film could have delved deeper is Murli’s personal life, particularly his relationships with his wife and children. The film touches upon his family’s reaction post-war, especially the poignant scene where his mother and brother leave him alone on a wheelchair. However, more exploration of his personal relationships could have added another layer of depth to his character and made his story even more relatable.

Kabir Khan’s Comeback

After the lukewarm response to his 2021 film 83, Kabir Khan’s Chandu Champion marks a triumphant return. The film stands as a testament to his ability to tell stories that are both impactful and entertaining. By focusing on an unsung hero like Murlikant Petkar, Kabir not only brings a remarkable story to light but also reaffirms his skill in crafting compelling biographical dramas.

A Tale of Resilience and Triumph

Chandu Champion is ultimately a story of resilience and triumph. It celebrates the spirit of a common man who, despite numerous adversities, never gave up on his dreams. Murli’s journey from a determined athlete to a Paralympics gold medallist is a powerful reminder of the human capacity for endurance and determination. The film’s message is clear: with courage and perseverance, one can overcome even the most daunting challenges.


Chandu Champion is a beautiful addition to the genre of sports dramas in Bollywood. It not only tells an inspiring story but also showcases the power of cinema to bring forgotten heroes into the spotlight. Kartik Aaryan’s knockout performance, Kabir Khan’s deft direction, and the film’s emotional depth make it a must-watch. As Murli’s story unfolds on the screen, it leaves the audience with a sense of awe and admiration for a man who refused to be defined by his limitations. In the words of Murli himself, “Chandu nahi, champion hoon main,” the film celebrates the champion in all of us.

Gaurav Manral

I am from nainital, Uttrakhand, India and like to write different type of entertainment news like bollywood, Hollywood, South Indian movies, Life Style etc.