So, I watched Sachin: A Million Dreams on the big screen. Honestly speaking, I wasn’t too gung-ho about yet another (careful) re-telling of Sachin Tendulkar’s career. It’s rather like watching your wedding video—the footage is a bit grainy, you know exactly what happened in great detail, it’s stage-managed to make everyone look happy (and teary eyed later), the errant Mausaji from Kanpur who was drunk and mouthing obscenities has been edited out, but still there are enough moments which make you smile.
Kambli is that obscene Mausaji from Kanpur who's been edited out. Except for a few moments, like the time he wore a fuchsia suit to Sachin's wedding in 1995.
It’s not a movie about Sachin, it’s about YOU. As this takes you through the years, you remember vividly where exactly you were:
-When a lanky Bengaluru huduga uprooted Aamir Sohail’s off stump and told him to fuck off.
-When Sachin shouted at VVS Laxman for refusing a quick single post a desert storm.
-When the scoreboard read 120/8 and Kambli cried.
-When Dhoni hit THAT!
Every such event is like a bookmark from your own life. So in a way it’s like watching your own biography.
The director, James Erskine has done a lot of sports documentaries — racing, badminton, soccer but never cricket.
The ignorance shows.
While even a third rate movie like Awwal Number could bring the tension of the last few overs to your theatre seat, James fails in recreating cricketing drama. Even the 2011 World Cup finals seem thanda. Similarly, no time is spent in showing what cricketing shots, what acumen separated Sachin from other great batsmen. It’s just about milestones and more milestones to establish his greatness. What about that exquisite back-foot punch? Nope.
So what’s new?
In a scene, Sachin says, “After marrying Anjali we reached a point where I told her, One of us has to give up their career.” (What a euphemism!) Next shot, Anjali says firmly, “I had to give up my career, despite having an MD in paediatrics.” Ah, well.
This movie does give a peek into the personal life of Sachin. It tells you how besides being the best batsman in the world, how good he is as a husband, as a father, as a younger brother.
He comes across as an ordinary guy, like you and me. Introverted, humble, conflict-avoiding, patriarchal, deeply thankful to his parents, religious, a Marathi mulga, who talks to his kids in Marathi and expresses carefully rehearsed shock at match-fixing brewing in his own dressing room. He looked away all this while, but now lowers his car window to admonish a biker for not wearing a helmet.
Nothing gravely wrong. (Adverbs help Superheroes.) He kept silent then.
If you had a lump in your throat while Sachin delivered his farewell speech on 16th November 2013 at Wankhede, you will love this. Else you can skip it.
Did he have all the details or evidence to run to the court (or media)? I don’t know.
Could he have done more? Maybe.
The benefit of whatever doubt we have should go to that 16-year-old who hit Abdul Qadir for four sixes in an over.
The movie also dishes out some super-cute footage of him playing with Sara and Arjun though… Kambli is that obscene Mausaji from Kanpur who’s been edited out. Except for a few moments, like the time he wore a fuchsia suit to Sachin’s wedding in 1995.
There is footage of a 33-year-old Azharuddin, who’s staring at Sachin with a mix of spite and awe, while he (Sachin) is signing autographs for fans. Azhar had just lost his captaincy to a 23-year-old. Very powerful.
Should you watch the movie?
Simple, if you had a lump in your throat while Sachin delivered his farewell speech on 16th November 2013 at Wankhede, you will love this. Else you can skip it. (I wept.)
India has two National Anthems. One is “Jana Gana Mana…” and the other one has just two words:
*Bisleri bottles banged thrice*