Hindi Film Review
An Emotionally charged Experience
Film: Sachin : A Billion Dreams
Cast: Sachin Tendulkar, Anjali, Arjun, Sara, other family members, cricketing greats and commentators from across the world, Ramakant Achrekar etc.
Director: James Erskine
Rating: * * *
Runtime: 148 mins
A Bio-docudrama on the ‘God Of Cricket,’ this film was of course expected to be a winner even before it got off the floors. With a billion and more fans clamoring for a dekho, it was expected that even a hastily put-together success story would make do. James Erskine’s film though is a well thought out, sterilized effort that focuses it’s might on the demigod’s strengths- his virtuousness, his respect and love for family, friends and his unswerving commitment to the game of cricket. Director James Erskine (EMR, Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist , Shooting for Socrates) did not have a tough job at hand, seeing that every moment of this great man’s life and career as a sporting hero was well documented. All he needed was to source the material and that got done quite easily because Sachin himself has endorsed this effort.
Sachin has always led an exemplary life as a dedicated cricketer, a conscientious captain, loving son, devoted brother, caring and committed husband and father and steadfast friend. All those roles come through quite vividly in Erskine’s documentary. Home videos, archival clips, montage moments, commentaries from the greats and nail-biting record breaking and needle thin match finishes from the sporting field are skimmed through with the efficiency of a well oiled clock. Erskine allows the viewer to dwell briefly on Sachin’s losses in life and the game and also embraces you in his numerous record breaking victories. They are of course thrilling moments and could even get you emotional. From his very first step into the sport to his very last on the National and International level, Erskine gets us involved in Sachin’s story.
From being the hope of a struggling nation, to the emblem of a country ready to take on the world, from his first 200 in an ODI to the World Cup win in 2011, the film takes you on a fairy tale journey with Sachin. As the narrative progresses you not only experience Sachin’s growing prowess as a cricketer but also see him getting more and more confident of his Self-worth.
Erskine of course doesn’t get Sachin’s childhood friend Vinod Kambli to talk about him, neither does he dwell deeply enough on the captaincy controversies, his tiff with Greg Chappell is papered over, the Ferrari ‘Tax’ controversy doesn’t come up, his stint as a Rajya Sabha MP is not even hinted at and the absence of Dilip Vengasarkar who was one of the many selectors during Sachin’s reign, was sorely felt.
The editing is fluid, the present and past mix of home videos, archival match footage and present day shots are definitively emboldened while the background score rises to every proud moment with a symphony of sound and song.
Sachin, the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and One Day International cricket , the youngest Bharat Ratna Awardee, comes across as so squeaky clean that you might begin to think that he’s not human. In fact by skimming through the surface of Sachin’s great life, Erskine does disservice to the sporting hero even if his ‘He’s so good’ fan fable may just be what the fans ordered.