Another STROKE by A Genius

‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ movie review By G9 Divya Solgama

Expectations:
There was a time when NFDC, Films Division and Doordarshan used to make documentary films. Many filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Ritwik Ghatak, Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Tapan Bose, Prakash Jha, and many other directors kept making non feature films and manage to make their mark. The National awards also started felicitating these films right since the 50’s era. With the arrival of Multiplex era, these films started developing in a different style and after few years managed to give us some good work in the form of docudrama based films. In the recent times, we have witness films like ‘Smile Pinky’ winning Oscar and at the same time films like ‘Superman of Malegaon’ and ‘Celluloid Man’ doing well at the box office. In between many international film makers made such documentary type of films, including ‘Follow That Star’, which was based on the super stardom of Amitabh Bachchan in the late 80s era. This documentary was made by Indian born – internationally renowned director Nasreen Munni Kabir. Nasreen managed to showcase the superstardom of India’s biggest superstar, which released on the home video. This documentary was loved and cherished by everyone who was a Bachchan fan and had access to view it on home video. She later went ahead to document the stardom of Shah Rukh Khan. Decades later, another internationally renowned director James Erskine has come up with a documentary film based on the life and stardom of legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. So, let’s find out whether ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ will manage to do proper justice to the humungous caliber of Sachin Tendulkar or it might end up being yet another project trying to cash in over the popularity factor associated with it.

Story:
‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is a real life happenings related to the cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. It starts with his childhood track followed by his introduction into the world of cricket. Right since the first match till all the ups and downs in his professional life are displayed in the film. It, also showcases the personal life of this ace cricketer and tries to touch all the important aspects of Sachin’s life in a cinematic way.

Screenplay & Technical Details:
As we all know that this is a documentary type of film, but kudos to the technical team for making it look like a full length feature film. The real life happenings have been presented in the form of real life footages from Sachin’s personal as well as professional life. These real life footages have been brilliantly placed in the film and forms a good screenplay. The narrative by Sachin Tendulkar is real and keeps you glued to the silver screen. Though, the dramatized version of Sachin’s childhood track could have been better as well as engaging. But, after that there is not even a single dry spell in the entire film. The opening sequence itself, featuring real life footage of the birth of Sachin’s son Arjun along with Sachin sharing about his father’s teachings to become a better human being, sets the right mood for the film. There are plenty of scenes where either yours eyes will get moist or will have multiple goose bumps. The entire film is like a nostalgic ride featuring India’s first world cup victory, Sachin’s first test match against Pakistan, all the world cup’s played by Sachin, injury part, match-fixing track, Sachin as India’s captain part and many such scenes which are totally connectable. These connectable scenes make you feel and experience the life and the happenings in the film. The film also takes you inside the private world of Sachin’s life where he shares about his family, first bat, coach, friends, romance with Anjali, marriage, kids, father’s death and a few more. There are some sensitive topics related which have been handled in a dignified manner. All these scenes are brilliantly placed in the form of a beautiful screenplay with Sachin’s narrative, making it as a never seen before type of experience. The whole film reflects the identity of Sachin Tendulkar. The dialogues or narrative by Sachin is totally real and instantly touches your heart. People who are not associated with cricket might not experience the same magic, but still will like the film. The documentary styling might not highly appeal to the masses. Also, for the young kids who have missed out on Sachin phenomena, well heres a movie which will make you witness something unimaginable. The cinematography is of top notch and editing by Avdhesh Mohla is outstanding.

Music:
The background music by A.R Rahman works as an additional screenplay in the film. Every music piece has been rightly placed in the film. Rahman’s vocals gel beautifully with the expressive voice of Sachin and keeps you fascinated throughout the film. The usage of ‘Vande Matram’ is one of the finest in our Hindi cinema. ‘Hind Mere Jind’ and ‘Sachin Sachin’ will stay for a long time in your life. The placement of ‘Sachin Sachin’ chanting is totally apt in every scene.

Direction:
Director James Erskine displays a fantastic style in the world of documentary films. He highly succeeds in treating ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ like a full length feature film. The blend of Sachin’s narrative along with real life footages is like a masterstroke from this talented filmmaker. His contribution to Indian documentary films is quite similar to what Richard Attenborough did with ‘Gandhi’ to our bio-pics. The entire film is highly engaging, entertaining as well as emotionally connecting.

Performances:
The audio-video narrative by Sachin Tendulkar is amazing. He is so real, genuine and true to his words. One can see the spark in his eyes in many scenes, making you connect with his feelings and emotions. Sachin’s presence in this film makes you feel like he is personally narrating his life happenings. Remove him from the film and there will be a huge vacuum, which I feel no one else could fill. The additional narratives by Anjali and others lend fantastic support.

Final Verdict:
So on an overall basis, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is, not a movie, but an emotion which should be experienced by everyone who has grown up and lived along with India’s pride Sachin Tendulkar. This docudrama is like a first class cricket which deserves a huge round of applause at every shot and every scene. Do yourself a favour and watch this classic only on the big screen.

Rating – 4.5/5 [Source – Bollywood Times]