When the action takes place on the 22 yards, its often that the crowd gets involve. Especially in a country like India, where Cricket is a religion, the sentiments of the audience to it have always crossed its limits. The Bollywood industry though, made Cricket a more of devotional aspect and a more Patriotic aspirant for the Indians. When you think of a cricketing movies, the first movie that strikes your cord is Amir Khan hitting the last ball high up in the sky and the Britisher catching it outside the boundary line in Lagaan. Now lets see few other moments from the 21st century Bollywood movies that had Cricket as a part of their script.
One of the finest made Cricketing movie, which by all means blossoms the integral love for this game in Indians was undoubtedly the 2005 release Iqbal. Shreyas Talpade made a mark with his acting talent & superior performance as a deaf & mute cricket lover Iqbal, born in a poor farmer’s family, who eventually accomplishes his dream of playing for the nation despite all the obstacles. Nasaruddin Shah played the role of his drunk coach who transforms this rookie into a world class bowler. The film would always remain as one of the golden pages for both Bollywood and Cricket.
Akshay Kumar starer Patiyala House was another movie having a fast bowler dreaming to play cricket but his father, who had settled in UK prohibiting his son from playing for the Britishers. The film was released just before the 2011 World Cup and had cricketers like Symmonds, Nasser Hussain, etc in cameo roles and even though the film did not gross much on the box office, the Cricketing essence in the film delights the audience.
Raju Hirani directed Ferrari Ki Sawari was released in 2012 which narrated the story of a young aspiring boy in the field of Cricket and his father’s struggle to manage finance for his child’s cricket. In the process, Sharman Joshi (Father) steals the Ferrari from Sachin Tendulkar’s house to rent it and earn money. The circumstances follow to an emotional end.
Chain Khuli Ki Mein Khuli throws in a fictional story having a comical taste to it. An orphan boy finds a magical bat, which not only allows him to hit the ball with ease, but also gets him into the Indian team. He joins Varun (Played by Rahul Bose), the Captain of the Indian team to open against Pakistan in a bilateral series. The twist in the climax sees the magical bat being broken and the boy, the last hope for Indians, to go out and bat for his country.
Harman Baweja played the role of Vijay in the fim Victory which is allegedly based on Yuvraj Singh’s life. Victory has the most number of cricketers filmed in the film including Brett Lee, Mutthaiya Muralidharan, Andre Nel, Dinesh Kartik, and many others. The film is the story of a young talent in cricket seeing the highs and lows in his career.
Few other films include Hattrick, Stumped, Meera Bai Notout (Having Anil Kumble and Mandira Bedi in disastrous script) and other low budget films like Say Salaam India, WorldCup 2011, etc. However, as mentioned before, the 2001 released Lagaan still cracks the nerves of every Indian, especially, with the scenes having Indians in pre-independence era learning the game and the heavy voice of Amitabh Bacchan narrating the story, “Aur iss tarah.. Bhuvan ka naam, Bharat ke itihaas mein kahin ghoom ho gaya!”
Cricket may be was a religion till films made it a dream, or a life. That is why cricket, even if it wasn’t the core of the script in a Bollywood movie, was still an integral part of the film as Indians connected with its flare and love. With Cricket came controversy and controversy gave new additions to films. Imran Hashmi starer Jannat and Jannat 2 were based on the fixing and betting rackets that prevail in India and controlled by the underworld. The film presented the evil side of the game and the life of match-fixers and betting agents. Jannat was released in 2008 and received large response, however Jannat 2 did not fullfill the expectations.
Another Imran Hashmi starer that had Cricket and Controversy tied together, is the recently released biopic on Mohammad Azharuddin named Azar. The ever so controversial life of India’s former Captain who was accused to be involved in match fixing along with his extra martial affair would gross a lot on box office was the thought of producer Ekta Kapoor and director Tony D’souza. Even though Hashmi’s performance as Azhar was praised, the film lacked the stability and the courage factor to portray the life of Azharuddin. The film was criticized to be made completely in favour of Azhar, and lacked to state the real incidents. Creating characters based on Azhar’s viewpoint is also criticized for the film. The film has a tag line; Love Him, Hate Him, Judge Him. And that is what the public exactly do, the ‘Love Him’ part very rare.
One of the cricketing disaster movie that had audience walk away from the theater as well as from Rani Mukherji for a long time was 2009 release Dil Bole Hadippa. The movie shows a village girl having highest level of Cricket playing talent who later on disguises herself as a boy to play in the men’s team. In the process she also falls in love with their Captain and Coach played by Shahid Kapoor. The more you see the film, the more you realize why a film like Lagaan or Iqbal is great. Dil Bolle Hadippa shows Rani Mukherji hitting 6 sixes in an over, batting right handed and left handed with same potential, winning matches of her own and even when injured playing the winning shot against Pakistan, all this disguised as a Sardarji boy and no one ever gets her secret. Wow man! Isn’t that just ‘toooooo much’ Bollywoodish? The fact that female population can also play cricket was completely wavered in the screenplay of the film and the unwanted childishness to the character of Rani Mukherji took the audience apart. Literally!
With biopic on Dhoni to be released this September, Cricket and Bollywood fans await for a classic movie that would yet again make people go on field and enjoy hours of cricket with friends. Till then, lets hope we get better Cricketing Movies.