Toolsidas Junior: 5 Reasons Why You Should Check Out the Excellent Indian Sports Drama On Netflix

some of the toolsidas junior cast at the snooker table
(Image credit: Netflix)

As a cinephile, I'm always seeking out new (and old) movies to watch. Oftentimes, I go off of other people's suggestions, as I'm not really into keeping up with the hot new thing, since I find that to be really exhausting. Sometimes, I'm directed toward old classics, like horny nun film, Black Narcissus, or Martin Scorsese's hidden gem, After Hours. Other times, I'm directed to watch fresh, new foreign films on Netflix. For example, my best friend, Ankur, recently told me to watch the excellent Indian sports drama, Toolsidas Junior, which debuted on Netflix on May 23rd.  

Now, I know it's cool to proclaim that you're dropping Netflix these days (even though Season 4 of Stranger Things just debuted to solid reviews), but I'll never drop Netflix, since they have such a great selection of anime like Demon Slayer, and foreign films. I mean, come on now, their selection of Korean dramas is absolutely incredible.    

But, I'm just finding out that they also have a pretty good Bollywood selection as well, and I hope Toolsidas Junior is just the first of many that I'll be watching on the platform in the upcoming months. So, here are five reasons why you, too, should watch Toolsidas Junior!  

Varun Buddhadev playing Snooker

(Image credit: AA Films)

It Focuses On A Sport (Snooker) That You Don't Often Get To See In Movies

I have never seen a movie about snooker in my entire life. I've seen movies about pool, such as The Hustler, starring Paul Newman, and then its much later sequel, The Color of Money, starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, but that's it. I've also seen one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever called, "A Game of Pool," but again, that's pool. Not snooker.  

The plot of Toolsidas Junior is all about snooker, which is like pool, but slightly different. In the story, two sons and their mother are very impressed by the patriarch of the family, Toolsidas Sr. (played by the late Rajiv Kapoor in his final film). He's so good at snooker, that he should be champion. The only issue is, he has an alcohol problem. 

Long story short, his youngest son, Midi (Varun Buddhadev) practices snooker every day so that he can reclaim his father’s reputation, because even though it’s a sports drama, that’s only part of what makes this film so great.  

Varun Buddhadev and Chinmai Chandranshuh in Toolsidas Junior

(Image credit: AA Films)

The Story Is, At Its Heart, About Family 

As alluded to in the last section, while snooker is the basis for the plot, the true story of Toolsidas Junior is all about the family. The writer and director of this film, Mridul Mahendra, is actually the inspiration for this story, as the movie is based on real events. Midi is actually portraying the director back when he was a boy, as I suppose (it’s never really made clear just how much of this story is fact and fiction), he learned snooker to help his father. 

But, throughout the movie, our young hero, Midi, is training with a snooker master named Mohammed Salaam (Sanjay Dutt) to be as good as possible. Meanwhile, our hero's older brother, Goti (Chinmai Chandranshuh), acts as Midi’s manager, but he's mostly trying to profit off of him, though you can tell that he loves him, as well. 

And, his mother, played by Tasveer Kamil, is just struggling to keep the family afloat and her husband away from the bar, though it's hard because he's so easily swayed. This alcoholism plotline could have definitely strayed into melodrama territory, but it doesn't. And about that…

Rajiv Kapoor in Toolsidas Junior

(Image credit: AA Films)

It Tackles Alcoholism, But Still Manages To Stay Lighthearted Throughout 

As mentioned, Toolsidas Sr. is an alcoholic, but the movie never focuses on just that. So, no, this isn't some heavy-hitting drama like Leaving Las Vegas starring Nicolas Cage. Instead, like many of the Bollywood films I've watched, the film stays lighthearted and even fun throughout, making it the perfect film to watch if you're tired of being depressed all the time from what's going on in the real world. 

When our hero tries to find out what sport he can play that can possibly get his family the income they might need, because it looks like they might be falling on some financial trouble soon, we get a whole comical bit of Midi trying out (and failing) all these different sports like soccer, horse riding, and cricket. Comic bits are actually sprinkled throughout the entire story, and there’s never a moment when the alcoholism aspect overtakes the fun side of the film, which is appreciated. 

Sanjay Dutt in Toolsidas Junior

(Image credit: AA Films)

The Acting Is Superb  

Also, I don’t think the film would work nearly as well as it does if the acting wasn’t top notch. Sanjay Dutt, who I’ve definitely heard of but have never seen any of his movies, plays the intimidating snooker coach who ultimately trains Midi to be the expert he later becomes. His stare alone can say more in one second than most actors can say with an entire script. All the hurt, anguish, and yes, drive can be seen in just his tired eyes. 

I also want to seek out more Rajiv Kapoor movies, as you love his character from the very first scene where he flips his glasses upside down to amuse his son. He isn’t in the film that often, but he made the best of every scene that he was in. Likewise for the film’s star, Varun Buddhadev, who looks great playing the game, and also has a winning performance as a kid who just wants to do right by his family. 

Honestly, almost all of the Bollywood films I’ve ever seen contain large and lavish dance numbers, which are usually the real stars of the films. But Toolsidas Junior is not a musical, and is instead just a straight up sports drama, so the acting from all of the players really pulls this movie through and makes it a crowd-pleaser. Speaking of which… 

Snooker in Toolsidas Junior

(Image credit: AA Films)

It Will Leave You Smiling By The End 

Do you like all of the Rocky movies? Well, besides the first one, which doesn’t have a predictable ending, the rest of the series is pretty by-the-numbers, which I think is a good thing, since we know what we’re getting into when we watch a Rocky movie–a training montage here, a fight against all odds there, wash, rinse, and repeat. The same could be said of Toolsidas Junior, as you know where the movie is heading within the first ten minutes. But, you know what? I think that’s a great thing, because by the end of the movie, I was smiling because it hit all the plot beats that I expected, and it hit them well. 

In fact, because I knew where the film was heading, I got even more invested in it. I wanted to see the villain, Jimmy Tandon (Dalip Tahil) get his comeuppance. I won’t tell you how the film ends, but I was happy with it. In every way, Toolsidas Junior is the kind of film that you’re going to enjoy, and you’ll enjoy it because you know where it’s going, which is a great thing. We need more sports dramas like this. 

So, that’s why you should watch Toolsidas Junior! But, what do you think? Are you going to be checking out the Bollywood section on Netflix like I am? For more news on the wide variety of cinema, make sure to swing by here often.  

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.