Cricket and Bollywood are intertwined. Both are hugely popular with Indian audiences, so it makes sense that there are plenty of films made that feature the nation’s favourite sport. Whether it’s a main storyline or a sub-plot, the famous sporting imagery is never far away when it comes to Bollywood. Here’s a look at five films that see cricket as one of the main attractions on the big screen.
Set in the Victorian era, Lagaan sees Aamir Khan. Khan’s character – Pawan – leads a group of villagers from Champaner in a game of cricket against their British rulers after a delayed monsoon means they’re unable to grow crops. The Indian side won the game and avoided the requirement to pay taxes as a result. Asutosh Gowariker was the Director. Overall, it made around $30 million at the box office. It was so well received globally that it was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.
Lagaan showed how Bollywood could shine on the global stage. The same is true of cricket competitions in recent years with dozens available on TV. The IPL has become the world’s best domestic T20 tournament, with hundreds of millions of viewers around the planet with the best players in the world signing with IPL franchises. The interest levels are huge every spring. Indeed, with the Indian betting sites offering competitive odds, great welcome bonuses and free bets, cricket fans are well catered for when it comes following their favourite sport. It’s not just India where Bollywood and cricket captivates audiences though, Afghanistan captain and Hyderabad Sunrisers superstar Rashid Khan named Aamir Khan as his favourite actor in a recent interview.
Ferrari Ki Sawari (2012)
Ritvik Sahore plays Kayo, a young boy who is fixated on cricket. In Ferrari Ki Sawari he organises a cricket camp which will mean he has the chance to play at the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground, the home of the English game. The boy’s father, Rusy, who is played by Sharman Joshi, can’t afford the trip though.
Usually, an honest man who would never do anything wrong, Rusy steals a Ferrari that belongs to none other than Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar. This paves the way for plenty of funny moments in a film that brought in over $6 million at the box office.
Iqbaal is an aspiring cricketer, despite being deaf and mute. The film of the same name sees Shreyas Talpade’s character wants to be a fast bowler, but his father, Anwar, despises the game.
The road of Iqbaal’s ambitious plan is full of challenges but he’s mentored by Nassiruddin Shah towards his goal. Girish Karnad plays the villain, a selector who wants to stop any chance of him appearing on the big stage. Not only is cricket a fundamental part of this title but all-rounder Kapil Dev’s appearance adds extra star power.
Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii (2007)
Kapil Dev’s story is at the centre of this Bollywood title too. Karan, who is an orphan, is inspired by Dev’s famous performance in scoring 175* against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup. Sunil Gavaskar has called the innings the best ODI knock he has ever seen. Karan manages to get his hands on the bat that was used in that famous victory and rises to fame, making friends with captain and fellow opening batsman Varun (played by Rahul Bose) who acts as a father figure for the prodigy.
He breaks into the India team, the youngest player in history to do so but the bat is destroyed by the orphanage bully. This comes at crucial point in a one-day series against rivals Pakistan. Can Kapal prove that he had the talent to lead his country to glory all along?
Love Marriage (1959)
No list of cricket-inspired Bollywood movies would be complete without Love Marriage, the first major title to feature the sport back in 1959. Dev Anad plays Sunil, a cricketer with big dreams that moves to Bombay. Despite arguments with his new landlord’s daughter – played by Mala Sinha – the pair fall in love after Geeta goes to watch the new arrival play. Marriage follows but it’s a rocky road for the couple as the film continues.