With the lockdown slowly turning us into unwilling homebodies, a good number of us yearn for that adrenaline rush we get from playing a sport out in the open. India’s obsession with cricket is no secret. Despite the streets being empty and not being allowed to play the loved sport on the street, we have a solution for cricket-fans to feel that familiar excitement and energy.
We bring you 6 cricket-based films that cricket lovers can watch to experience the drama, suspense, and tension between the bat and ball.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams
Chronicling a stellar 24-year-old journey of India’s greatest cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar, Sachin: A Billion Dreams was easily the most anticipated film for cricket fans in 2017. A docudrama sports film was made over an extensive four years and starred the cricket God of India himself with real-life footage of the cricketer’s childhood and iconic matches. Produced by Ravi Bhagchandka and Shrikant Bhasi under the banners 200 NotOut Productions and Carnival Motion Pictures, it was well-received for the substantial detail it showcased and the never-known before nuggets on Sachin. Directed by James Erskine, the film is available on the Sony Live app for those who want to know what makes Sachin Tendulkar the national icon and global phenomenon he is.
One film to enjoy as you huddle with your family during this lockdown is Patiala House, starring powerhouses Akshay Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, and Anushka Sharma along with a strong supporting cast. Set in Southhall, London, the film follows Pargat Singh Kahlon or “Gattu,” a talented but closeted pace bowler, forced to run a grocery store in fear of his autocratic father played by Kapoor. A mini rebellion unfolds when Gattu meets local firebrand Simran (Sharma) and starts playing for the “Gora” team undercover against all odds. What ensues is an unravelling of the entire Patiala House’s secrets, as the film serves laughs and shocks amid strong patriotism in a going-global age. Directed by Nikkhil Advani the film is available on Netflix India and Amazon Prime.
Based on the life of Indian cricketer and former national team captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Azhar features Emraan Hashmi in the lead role, with an exciting ensemble cast of Lara Dutta, Nargis Fakhri, Prachi Desai, Gautam Gulati, Varun Badola, and Kunaal Roy Kapur. The film adeptly told a story of a cricketer whose life had always been in the public eye, going from the rise of the demure Hyderabad boy fascinated with the glittery world of cricket to his inevitable downfall when accused of match-fixing. Directed by Tony D’Souza, with a story written by Rajat Arora, Azhar is a fast-paced entertainer as it skates over the good and the bad that comes with the energetic world of cricket. Produced by Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor for Sony Pictures Networks the film is available on Netflix India and Sony Live app.
A coming-of-age sports drama, written and directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor, Iqbal follows a cricket-obsessed 18-year-old from a remote Indian village who has the straightforward dream to play for the Indian national cricket team, like so many other across the country. The only thing standing in his way is his speech and hearing impairment, which he strives to overcome in Kukunoor’s gentle storytelling. The film won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues in 2006 bridging the gap between parallel and commercial cinema. Starring a boyish Shreyas Talpade in the lead, with Naseeruddin Shah and Shweta Prasad in key roles, the film is heart-rendering, engaging watch with the right amount of inspiration. Watch Iqbal to renew hope and positivity, on Amazon Prime and Zee 5.
M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story
Starring the affable Sushant Singh Rajput in one of the biggest roles of his career, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story is a biopic on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former Indian national cricket captain under whom the team ascended from being good to great. The film delves deep into the cricketer’s personal and professional life, divulging unheard of details of the Indian sporting hero. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, and starring Disha Patani, Kiara Advani, and Anupam Kher in crucial roles, the film is an entertaining and engaging insight into what made a boy who dreams big, hit some of the biggest shots on field. Available on Disney+Hotstar.
One of the most epic sports films of all time, written and directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, Lagaan is a take on the very inception of the sport of cricket in India. It chronicles the story of an Indian village and its unique endeavour to be exempted from heavy taxes. When the villagers are hit by a terrible drought and can barely feed themselves, their only option seems to be to learn an alien and mysterious game of cricket and win in match against the British officers. Destined for defeat, the village decides it own destiny as it leaves behind caste divisions and social stigmas to come together and train in a sport that has always been in their blood. Starring the incredible Aamir Khan with debutant Gracy Singh and a strong supporting cast, Lagaan is an inspiration for scores of Indians. Available on Netflix.