We’ve heard for years about Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes winning championships after championships and bringing honour to their country. But were we ever told what happened behind the scenes? It was a love tale that needed to be told, and it needed to be heard by the public. The two are telling their love storey, which includes bonding, fraternity, and desire. You must pay attention to it.
Break Point exists just to make you realise how ignorant you have been regarding the most pivotal period in the history of Indian sport. About a partnership that made waves in the history of tennis, one of the most niche sports of all time.
Break Point begins with the introduction of two boys born extraordinary. One called the Olympic Child (Leander), the other a Miracle Child (Mahesh), they were meant to meet. Of course, this is a docu-series and the men talk about their illustrious lives, but Ashwiny and Nitesh shape it like a love story. And this is where all the magic in Break Point exists.
We meet them on the day they met and almost like star crossed lovers. Soon they fall for each other and become a team that goes on to win the world. And by world, I mean world. Just Google the numbers of Grand Slam, Wimbledon and Asian titles they own together and respectively. I refuse to believe there is no magic or some celestial blessing with them. The story that the two have lived is a tailor-made fodder for a perfectly moving Bollywood film. Nitesh known for the sports genre movies, takes this very pro of the whole project and hits a sixer.
With Ashwiny he creates a three-act structure. Introduction, confrontation and resolution. And dare you to think the men are at any moment uncomfortable to speak about their most vulnerable moments.
While they address the bad air between them with the most candid attitude, they also try and give their version of an unadulterated story. Where Mahesh is not shy to say Leander went out and spit venom in the press, Leander almost cries about Mahesh choosing someone else over him.
Directed by Ashwini Iyer-Tiwari (Nil Battey Sannata, Bareilly Ki Barfi) and Nitesh Tiwari (Dangal), ‘Break Point’ details Indian tennis’ greatest partnership through interviews of Paes and Bhupathi as well as family (Vece Paes and Juliana, Krishna Bhupathi, Mira Bhupathi, Kavitha Bhupathi) and coaches (Enrico Piperno, Nandan Bal).
It’s a story of a mentor and his protege. Paes, a year older, was decidedly the senior partner. He was the established name when he asked Bhupathi to play with him. But Paes didn’t congratulate Bhupathi enough, the documentary alludes, when the latter became the first Indian to win a Grand Slam (partnering Japan’s Rika Hiraki to win the 1997 French Open) and reach the world No. 1 ranking. Bhupathi says he wanted emotional support and loyalty. Paes required respect and credit.
‘Break Point‘ attempts to correct this by presenting the greatest hits. Paes and Bhupathi not only reveal their game plans and thought processes, but you also get a peek of the magic they put on through vintage footage and images.
By purpose, the tangled history of two great champions and flawed characters might irritate you in ‘Break Point.’ It can also make you grin with nostalgia. Along the way, there were a few double faults. But, at the very least, the series comes to a close with Love-all.