Film Sachin A Billion Dreams offers a heavy dose of the magnificent ’90s, an era in which the BCCI became the superpower of world cricket.
When the hero has been the collective voice and integrity of India’s cricketing history, then he’s a tough subject to make a movie on. Obviously, James Erskine puts Sachin on a pedestal and tells the story with an unnatural amount of respect.
It’s a treat to get a look into Sachin’s childhood. And it’s also a fan-shriek moment to see footage of him in his personal space, looped to Dire Straits and Bappi Lahiri with his wife Anjali, his children—Arjun and Sara, his family and friends. The fact that Sachin is the sutradhar (narrator) who walks the viewer through his victories and injuries is an additional bonus.
In India, where cricket is a religion and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is God, this movie aims to offer a sneak peek in the life of the ‘Little Master’ and seeks to show the man behind the legend.
The movie starts off with Sachin’s childhood and we get to know what a curly-haired little devil Tendulkar was as a kid. The story is peppered with anecdotes of his mischievousness as told by Sachin’s family members. The first half of the movie is nothing less than a ‘coming of age’ story as we follow Sachin’s life and learn how he transformed from a infamous mischief-monger to a dedicated sportsman with the help of his brother Ajit Tendulkar and his coach Ramakant Achrekar. The movie also sheds light on how he met his wife Anjali and how they ended up getting married and some of the anecdotes are bound to make you laugh. Through Anjali, we also get to know how Sachin is as a husband and a father and how his performance on the pitch tends to affect his personal life too. Sachin also takes us on a guided tour of the Indian cricket team and we get to know how the team functions within the limits of a dressing room, the friendship between the players and the effect a win or loss has on the entire team.
The movie has been shot fairly well and the background music by A.R. Rahman, is one of the highlights of the movie as it elevates the narrative to another level altogether. Every time the ‘Sachin... Sachin’ chant echoes through the cinema-hall, you feel goosebumps on your skin-such is the impact of the docu-drama.
James Erskine deserves praise for his stiff direction and for making the movie engaging enough to arrest the attention of every spectator in the cinema-hall. The movie is not just about Sachin, but about Indian cricket as a whole, with emphasis on the other members of the team and on the people behind Sachin, who made him what he is today.
Erskine’s movie also has included some of Sachin’s memorable matches and his tryst with captaincy and the reason behind his reluctance to wear the captain’s cap, which should shed some light on why Tendulkar never wanted the post. We also get hints of the dark world of match-fixing and how it affected the entire team. But what generally works for the movie is that it is not just about Sachin, the cricketer, but also Sachin as a person, as a father, as a husband and as a friend.
The biography’s narrative continues with commentators, critics and colleagues Dhoni, Kohli, Ganguly, Sehwag and Harbhajan are (sigh!) only praising the Little Master.
Overall, Sachin-A Billion Dreams is a commendable film to watch once for knowing about glorious journey of Sachin’s life in a distinctive way.