How fitting is it that the great A.R. Rehman croons ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’ during the climatic scene of the movie when Sachin finally wins the coveted World Cup in his fifth and last attempt. No other song can do more justice as a background score to this great luminary than this one. Because Sachin is a bond which has forever unified India and for a few hours made us forget all that is flawed in this country and simply evoked an overwhelming nationalistic feeling deep within our hearts. And now he is retired and has been out of the Indian team for almost four years. Nostalgia is a very strong force when associated with dozens like him. And we needed Sachin : A Billion Dreams just to feel patriotic and sit amongst fellow cricket lovers once again and smile in unison as the part where Ravi Shastri bellows “First man to score a double hundred and it is the superman from India” plays on screen. We also needed this documentary because come on, in India movies rule the roost when it comes to eulogizing great events and stars, and the Sachin Saga is nothing short of a Bollywood screenplay waiting to be told on celluloid. It has a good mix of the underdog story plus a solo hero story plus the brief period of failure which eventually culminates into a climatic victory in front of his ‘family’. The best of screenplays are written by God and Sachin is living testament to this fact.
In all honesty Sachin : A Billion Dreams doesn’t show much which has never been read or heard or seen before. Apart from some adorable family footage and dressing room videos perhaps. This actually shows how scrutinized the Little Master’s life was during his playing days. The nation gobbled up every news fodder coming their way. People read up about tennis elbow when he was diagnosed with it and couch cricketers used to advise him how to face a Shane Warne or a Glenn McGrath. Despite all this, the man has achieved laurels which can hardly be fathomed, let alone aspired to be beaten. All the while maintaining a dignity which is worthy of a saint. This movie takes the good parts of the 25 year old journey of the great man and presents to us as a gift, wrapped with good music, the best footage from the events of the ‘Desert Storm’, ‘Shoaib Bashing’, ‘Warne Haunting’ and embellishing everything with snippets about his family and friends.
The movie starts from his birth into a lower middle class family in Maharashtra and documents his meteoric rise through the levels, all the while keeping us abreast with how the family helped him through every step. Every great man has his family behind him and it was heartening to watch Ajit, his brother and his dad imbibing a culture of dedication into the young prodigy. The cricketing parts in the movie cover most of his glittering knocks and also details the story behind every such knock, be it the 143 in Sharjah or the 140 against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup right after his father passed away. Director James Erskine uses all of his expertise in making movies revolving around sports to make this one as close to the heart as possible. His filmography includes a movie about a Cyclist (Pantani), a movie about a young footballer (Shooting for Socrates) among others. He keeps a perfect balance between narrative and documented footage and tries to give perspective to every sequence. That is the strength of this movie. We know the scores, we also know the daily affairs which was covered by mainstream media, but this movie brings to us the story of the man and what he felt and went through in both success and failure.
This had to be a documentary because to Bollywoodize a story which is already in the hearts of every Indian, would be naïve. No amount of dramatization could have worked as the Sachin story is in the public conscience since the time he made a rollicking debut against the fearsome Pakistani pace battery at the age of 16! Sachin narrates the story himself and gives us a first hand access to his inner world and his home. We see his caring father side, his devoted son side and his daily routine before coming on the biggest stage to work his magic in front of millions. The movie also has many notable present and ex-cricketers and journalists sharing their thought on the little genius and everyone is in reverence of this legend.
Sachin : A Billion Dreams is a fitting documentary for India’s son. For us 90s kids, this is a tour de force in sports documentary making in India and a perfect way to relive the magic moments. Please go and watch it in a hall. And please take your kid along because he/she might not have seen this man playing live, but trust me this story needs to be shared with the younger generation. Not only for cricketing references but mainly for life references.
gobblpoint: Even if you forget to carry popcorn, don’t forget to carry tissues.
Disclaimers: The images used in this post are the sole property of the makers of this Documentary and Google images. They are not owned by us in any form whatsoever.