Article by Niladri Sekhar Dutta, The North-Eastern Chronicle
Visual by: Pallab Neog
Indian players sports biopic is taking Bollywood by storm. Each year many celebrities are teaming up with producers and directors to showcase the wonders of their favourite sports personalities. The trend of sports biopic started getting traction from the last eight to ten years.
Sports biopics have become the flavour of the season for Bollywood industry. Thanks to the success of films like Paan Singh Tomar, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mary Kom, MS Dhoni – The Untold story, and Dangal, filmmakers are itching to document the hardships of Indian sports stars.
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Though we have not seen many that can manage to create the nail-biting suspense and yet cover all aspect of its subject’s life. However, there have been a few which have created benchmarks for the biopic genre in Hindi cinema.
Here are the sports biopics from the last decade ranked from the not-so-good to the best:
Azhar is a sportsbiopic on former Indian Cricket captain Md Azharuddin. Ever since the trailer of Azhar dropped, it was hard for the viewer to get convinced of the plot of this film, which basically negated the match-fixing scandal.
We know that biopics in Bollywood are laced with fictional elements but the film lack anything, that gave us something that seems just a little believable.
Though Emraan Hashmi did a good job to pull the character in the screen, with copying his style and also looking a fair bit like the former Indian captain. But still not enough to convince the audience of the story and seemed like a basically a vehicle for hero-worship.
Another sportsbiopic on former Indian Cricket captain, and one of most popular Cricketer M.S Dhoni. It is strange to have a biopic made on a person who was still actively playing cricket, at that time when the film was made but it is stranger to completely omit all the controversies.
Though it did not really offer us anything we did not already know about the celebrated cricketer. It’s big win was the performance of Sushant Singh Rajput who made for a believable Dhoni and impressed the audience with his stellar act. It was SSR’s act that made the film memorable, down to acing that helicopter shot.
This biopic on boxer Mary Kom, the Olympic medalist have a mixed reactions after visuals of Priyanka Chopra playing the lead role were released.
Many believed that an actor of Manipuri or North-east descent should have been cast in the role and not someone who did not look like Mary Kom at all.
Despite the controversy, the film managed to get many viewers in its corner as the story was not known by the masses. Priyanka Chopra gave a heartfelt performance here and was actively supported by the other actors. The film came alive in the portions that had shown the boxer successfully raising her children whilst also trying to manage her career.
One of the most popular sports biopics of all time, Dangal followed the story of Phogat sisters and how they clinched victory after a tough battle.
Starring Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim and Sanya Malhotra in lead roles, Dangal did a great job at explaining the sport of wrestling to its audience and provided an engaging narrative of the father-daughters story.
The story, of the film shows an emotional conflict and amplify the unity between the Phogats sisters, and with rigorous training by their father Mahavir Singh played by Amir Khan, who did an pretty impressive job in playing the character. But the cinematic liberties taken here also reduced the effect of Geeta’s win as unlike the film, her victory was by a much bigger margin.
A biopic on former Athlete the late great Milkha Singh.Starring Farhan Akhtar in the lead role, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a traditional sports biopic that follows the beats of most popular biopics and that is probably why it has a certain classical appeal.
The Partition, the trauma and the struggle faced by Milkha Singh make for an inspiring story and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag understand that right from the start. The film does not brush over his losses and neither does it deify the Flying Sikh, which is its biggest strength. And probably one the best biopic made on a sportspersons in Bollywood.
This year will witness several films based on true stories especially the sports personalities like PV Sindhu, Abhinav Bindra and Mithali Raj.
Mirabai Chanu, who won India’s first medal this Olympic season. Historic victories like these comes possibilities of cinematic adaptation. Mirabai’s historic triumph has high chances of getting a Bollywood adaptation in the form of a biopic.
Actress Lin Laishram, who played a pivotal role in Priyanka Chopra’s ‘Mary Kom’ shared her personal thoughts over the ‘talked about’ possibilities of a biopic on Chanu, she said, It’ll be a shame if an actor of another ethnicity plays it in today’s day and age. Inclusivity is a big thing across the world, and about time we as a country practice it as well. If someone makes a movie on Mirabai Chanu, sure they’d be more imaginative and cast someone from the Northeast.