Sachin: A Billion Dreams (Bio-pic) Review: ‘Ten’acious And ‘Ten’der

| May 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Most of the bio-pics and docu-dramas on sports icons are generally an amalgamation of grit, commitment, dedication, struggles,hard-work, discipline and focus of the protagonist who marches on against the wind, bounces back from every fall, never gives up and lives to see his dream come true.

Sachin-A Billion Dreams is no different. It traces the life story of Sachin the prankster of seven years , Sachin the pre teen boy of eleven years, when his talent as a batsman was spotted by none other than his elder brother Ajit Tendulkar. It backtracks to the days when he was put under the sharp eyes of a firm, disciplinarian coach Sir Ramakant Achrekar and when vada pav  was available at 50 paise.

It then begins the real story in year 1989 when he debuted in the Indian Team against Pakistan.

From 1989 to year 2013, Sachin’s story is not only of records and milestones but also a primer on India’s story of change-political ,economic ,social.

It’s the story that saw India joining the Missile Club in year 1990, first wave of economic liberalization where India shed its socialist baggage and embraced capitalism in year 1991,dawn of satellite TV in year 1992, ten prime minister’s guiding the destiny of the nation, onset of internet, branding in sports,sportsman as a brand, BCCI firing full throttle with sale of TV broadcast rights of its matches, transformation of cricket as an entertainment loaded with glamour in IPL , six World Cups that culminated in Sachin realizing his dream of 28 years when as a lad of 10 he had watched India win the world Cup in year 1983, and wanted to be part of the team that won the World Cup again.

Things were changing fast all around due to technological, political and economic reasons. Amongst this change one thing remained constant. That was Sachin.

In 24 years of his career with 100 International Cricket Hundreds, and 200 Test Matches, 35,000 plus runs, what shaped Sachin as a batsman, as a sportsperson, as a team player, as a Captain and above all as a modest, humble human being is the stuff of this docu-drama.

Its emotion in motion as it blends the real archived footage of Sachin’s matches with matter-of-fact honest narration in his own persona. It shows Sachin as an ever grateful son, brother, husband and a father to his two kids.

What it skirts is his interaction and bonding with his own team. The dressing room camaraderie is shown only when its celebration time. The spats, the differences amongst the team members are not highlighted. Though visually in few shots his strained relations with Mohammed Azarruddin are shown and rest is left to the imagination.

Similarly,the crisis engulfing the Indian cricket in year 2000 where match-fixing and betting offtake charges were rampant are not dealt in detail. May be that was not the intention also. The focus is more on Sachin’s own trials and tribulations, highs and lows as a batsman, and Team India’s captain. His hurt when he was unceremoniously dropped from captaincy with a diplomatic statement that captaincy’s pressure was affecting his batting prowess. Sachin knew it was not the real reason. Hence his hurt was more deep. It really singed him when the worshipping, idolizing fans and crowds cast aspersions on his own integrity too.

One person who stood by him through his lean, despairing times is none other than his life partner Anjali. Yes, it does prove a cliche that behind every great man there is a Woman!

Emmy nominated documentary director James Erskine scores  a hundred as he, with his team, sifts through thousands of hours of archival footage and then blends it seamlessly with flashbacks and recreated reality.

It pulls at your heart strings, brings lump to your throat, moistens your eyes while delineating the story of a cricketing legend as a boy/young man who is like a family member, a next-door neighbor at best. His farewell speech caps it all and am sure can melt even a die-hard cynics tear-ducts.This is no mean achievement.

Sachin’s own narration ties up the lose threads skillfully and gives us insights that are not just a Wikipedia material. Like being exhorted by his batting idol Vivian Richards to focus on 2011 World Cup, when Sachin’s dream of winning it in 2007 was shattered. His admission that he never practiced and strategized for any bowler except Shane Warne.

That he was never alone on the pitch. His alter ego, his elder brother Ajit Tendulkar was always there with him guiding and goading him. Then it is heartening to watch MS Dhoni,Virat Kohli, Virendra Sehwag talking of their own cricket baptism by learning from how Sachin played.

But the question of whether he overstayed his form and years in cricket just to claim another record of 200 test matches, lingers on. Yet it does not affect the stuff being shown on screen.

Yes a banner proclaims in the packed stadium, Cricket is religion in India, And Sachin is our God! The adulation, love, affection ,frenzy of the cheering crowds chanting Sachin, Sachin is an unparalleled aphrodisiac. He admits he will miss it. For him Cricket Ground and practice nets were his temple. We admit, we will miss you Sachin– your brilliance, inherent goodness and humility in face of such stupendous success.

But at the moment you can go and live the nostalgia. Its how Harbhajan Singh would have put it. TEN TANA, TAN. Jersey number 10,‘TEN’DULKAR’S journey is full of thrills, spills, emotions and varied notions that takes you through his life’s highs and lows, while giving the ringside view of India’s own growth story. Go for it. Live the experience.



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About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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