In a country of almost 1.3 billion people, it could be difficult to stand out from the crowd in India! But there is one name that captivates them all, Sachin Tendulkar. In a county that has is overflowing with A-List Bollywood stars, there is still one name that transcends even the glitz & glamour of the red carpet, and that is Sachin.
Sachin : A Billion Dreams is the biography of one of the most dominant cricketers to have ever played the game, and follows the story of The Little Master from his humble childhood to becoming one of the greatest of all time. In a similar vein to the majestic Senna (2010), the movie gives a fantastic insight into the career of the great man, along with personal footage from behind the scenes, such as his home videos or personal interviews.
The movie is essentially split into 2 formats, you have the ‘factual’ side of the movie, which uses archived footage and interviews to tell the story of what’s happening. These scenes, provide a fascinating look into what happened behind the scenes, and the little anecdotes that are told throughout, that you may not be aware off!. All of this is narrated by the master himself! Which adds a greater gravitas to the film and gives the film that extra charisma & charm, that could not have been done if it was narrated by someone else..
These scenes are supplemented by acts that are recreated by other actors, to show us moments from his childhood & teenage years. There is only a certain amount of footage that they can have access too! The flashbacks mainly focus of his pranksters years as a child and all the tough regimes he put himself through as he was growing up and balancing education with his obvious talent for cricket. These parts are used mainly as a transition between scenes, and do not go on for too long. They do also manage to incorporate plenty of laughs with these sections, which was a nice bonus!
There are several famous cricketers from the past and present also appear to give their tributes to Tendulkar. MS Dhoni, Sehwag, Virat Kohli & Shane Warne are just a few who take time out to give their views on playing with and against Tendulkar. You also have Bollywood royalty, Amitabh Bachchan & Aamir Khan dropping in a few words here to mention their praises! Just to show how broad Tendulkar’s influence was! I wasn’t the biggest fan of cricket back in the 90s, nor can I remember much of what happened back then. So this was a great chance for me to see why he was so dominant during that time, and what made Tendulkar stand in a league of his own.
The film also documents the rise of cricket into the global force it is now, how the sport rose from the ashes of all the match fixing allegations in the late 90’s, to becoming the powerhouse it is now, with the IPL being the pioneers of its charge. Tendulkar played a pivotal role in convincing all the disillusioned fans to give the game another chance, if cricket lost India, than the sport may not have recovered.
As with any documentary/biopic, your enjoyment of this will be purely down to if you have any interest in the focus of the feature. If you love cricket, than this will entertain you through the somewhat dragging 2:20 run time! Following his journey from a teenage sensation debuting in a daunting away match in Pakistan, to the World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011. It seems fitting for the film to hit its crescendo with victory at his last chance at the big one! Even though I’m not Indian, watching it as a sports fan, the film absolutely captures what Sachin means to the nation, and the passion they have for the game.
Although some parts of the film are in Hindi (which are subtitled!) , the majority of the film is in English, so that shouldn’t put off anyone not from India to give it a go! Some parts of the movie may feel unnecessary, adding to an already bloated run time, but I suppose it must be an arduous job to fit the life story of someone who has achieved so much into one feature length movie, so I’m willing to cut it some slack in that regards!
Also, the film is scored by the legendary A. R. Rahman, so what’s not to love?!
The film may be on a limited release over here in the UK, but with the ICC Champions Trophy starting in a few days, Sachin : A Billion Dreams is well worth the time for any fan of not just Tendulkar, but the game itself!