India’s “Magnificent Mary” Kom
The 5 time international champion (World Boxing)
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom (born 1 March 1983), better known as Mary Kom, is an Indian boxer hailing from the Kom tribe in Manipur. She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. Nicknamed “Magnificent Mary”, she is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal. She has also been ranked as No. 4 AIBA World Women’s Ranking Flyweight category. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea. On 26th April 2016, she was nominated by the President of India as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament.
Her autobiography, Unbreakable, was co-authored by Dina Serto and published by Harper Collins in late 2013. In 2014, Priyanka Chopra played the main role as Mary Kom in biographical film about her life.
She first met her husband in 2001 when Kom was in New Delhi on her way to the National Games in Punjab and Onler was studying law at Delhi University. After four years of dating they got married in 2005.
Together they have 3 sons: twins Rechungvar and Khupneivar(2007); as well as son Prince (May 2013)
Her 2012 victory in China.
Apart from Mary herself, it gives us a terrific male role model — Onler, who encouraged Mary to return to boxing while he looked after their twin sons. Has anyone given that man a medal?
Movie review by Anupama Chopra: Priyanka shines in Mary Kom
Mary Kom is the loosely fictionalised account of India’s most famous female boxer. In a crisp two hours, the film tells us how the belligerent daughter of a rice farmer in Manipur became a five-time world champion. It’s a story of grit, passion and, as Mary’s coach says, “hamesha whole surrender to boxing”.
What powers the film is a remarkable performance by Priyanka Chopra.
There’s been a lot of chatter about debutant director Omung Kumar’s decision to cast a glamorous Bollywood star who looks nothing like the actual Mary. This could have gone horribly wrong, but Priyanka meets the challenge head-on. Her shoulders and arms are sculpted to look lethal. Her face is a fierce combination of rage and vulnerability.
In one scene, the selectors unfairly reward her opponent and Mary throws a chair at them. You can feel her frustration and hurt.
Omung also wisely surrounds Priyanka with largely unknown actors who contribute immensely in creating a convincing texture. Darshan Kumar as Mary’s husband Onler, Robin Das as her father and Sunil Thapa as her coach are very good. Though the film wasn’t actually shot in Manipur, Omung creates a believable world.
Where Mary Kom falters is in the screenplay. Biopics by design are about the highlights of a person’s life and, here, the narrative succumbs to ticking off milestones. Omung tries to give it variety by incorporating a flashback structure, but that doesn’t add much. We go abruptly from one pivotal moment to another — it’s a dramatic story, but the first half especially is inexplicably inert. The character is fascinating and yet her story doesn’t grip you.
Thankfully, the momentum picks up in the second half, once Mary gets married and has children.
But Omung and his writer, Saiwyn Quadras, also try to highlight too many issues — women’s empowerment, the shoddy treatment of athletes by government bodies, how ignorant most Indians are about the north-east, the difficulty women have in balancing personal and professional lives and, of course, the call to patriotism that runs through the film.
In the climax, Omung opts for high-strung melodrama and we are even asked to stand as the national anthem plays. I found it annoying. The emotion that compels viewers to stand has to be earned. You can’t just tell us to do it.
Despite its flaws, though, Mary Kom is a worthy attempt. The film has sincerity and has been crafted with care. Apart from Mary herself, it gives us a terrific male role model — Onler, who encouraged Mary to return to boxing while he looked after their twin sons. Has anyone given that man a medal?