Movie Reviews

Sachin: A  Billion Dreams-Movie Review

You Don’t Have To Be A Cricket Fan To Love The Sachin Bio-Pic

Directed by James Erskine

Rating: **** ½(4 and a  half stars)

There is something about Sachin Tendulkar,something so  correct and so innocent  you want him to win in  life even when you know he is  no more the ‘God’ of the cricket field.

The rousing farewell speech that Sachin gives at the end of this astutely emotional journey into the heart and mind of India’s most celebrated Bat Man  ,left me dewy-eyed. This, when I  know zilch about cricket and practically nothing about Sachin’s exploits on the field.What I do know—and what this film is able to tell us in comprehensive  strokes of revelation—is that greatness is not thrust on the great by chance.

One has to break bones and crack ribs to  get there.

Sachin A  Billion Dreams  is the story of  a national hero who sails through every crisis with his simple philosophy of good existence and hard work.Sachin’s life is blameless. He has never been in any controversy and he doesn’t incite scandalous thoughts. This film could’ve easily been the opposite of what the Sanjay Dutt biography  would be, given the man’s colourful lifescape. Instead the director unfolds  a treasury  of memories and anecdotes in which the aroma of ambition is mingled with the flavour of yearnings.

Sachin Tendulkar’s wife talks about how he would clam up after every defeat on the field. Does that make him a difficult man to live with?She doesn’t say. Dissent is not an option that people close toTendulkar would want to exercize.What I gathered  after watching Tendulkar’s  tale  being tossed into a cauldron of  exploratorychannels all leading to a  glorious  exposition  on heroism,is that every  great life has a very strong support system behind it.

The documentary, dotted with  a smattering  of fictionalization from the protagonist’s growing years, constructs an extremely strong case for the  joint-family system. Sachin’s closeness to his father and brother and the singleminded focus that his wife Anjali has in ensuring Sachin’s  ascendancy into cricketing stardom, are milestones in the cricketer’s life that get a pride of place  in the narrative.

This brings me  to the other hero in Sachin: A  Billion Dreams. The hero  beyond the one whom  the film celebrates,is the film’s editorDeepa Bhatia who has done a stupendous job of assembling all the footage from old television interviews,  Sachin’s home videos(truly rare footage  of the cricketing legend playing with his two little children) and his precious time with family and friends.

None of the raw material that serves as  the backbone of the Tendulkarsaga is randomly placed.Director James Erskine plunges deep into the cricketer’s  heart even while maintaining a certain distance  from the cult of hero-worship that Indians subscribe to when it comes to film stars and  cricketers.Sure, there is footage of crowds cheering and mobbing Tendulkar. But the man himself is shown to remain blissfully distanced from the adulation.

A simple man whose phenomenal achievements do not influence his behaviour on the field or in the family fold, Tendulkar comes across in the film as  guileless and driven.

We  get to see Sachin Tendulkar talk directly into the camera . Again it’s not about how he throws words or  pauses between them. It’s about telling the world that his heart beats for cricket.Everything else, including family, must wait.

For telling it like  it is,for giving the national hero a befitting cinematic homage and for opening up the vistas of dreams that everyworkingclass youngsters lives and dies with , Sachin A  Billion Dreams  deserves a standing ovation.For giving us a documentary that is neither dry nor pedantic nor over-eulogistic ,the entire team of this film deserves a ‘We Love Sachin’ sweat-shirt each.

Signed by the man.

 

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