Sachin: A Billion Dreams picture Review: Forget the film, celebrate the master. Sachin: A Billion Dreams created Pine Tree State cry and gasp and cheer louder than any film in ages.
Cast: Sachin Tendulkar, Anjali Tendulkar, Sara Tendulkar, Arjun Tendulkar, Mayuresh Pem, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag
Director: James Erskine
Rating: four stars
The year was 2009. Stand-up comedy was barely a go to bed Bharat, and from those pioneering early sets performed late at the hours of darkness in Mumbai, I keep in mind only 1 gag. At the time, bullying politicians were divisively business for Maharashtrian signboards everyplace and for ‘outsiders’ to depart, going against the hospitable heart of most town. it absolutely was during this charged atmosphere that a bright young comic referred to as Rohan Joshi aforementioned he, as a Maharashtrian wounded by this communality, would even so provide a handful of words on behalf of Maharashtrians everyplace. The night was packed with barely entertained and judgemental drinkers, and Joshi was terribly, very green, however with 2 words he brought the house down, rousingly and right away. “Sachin Tendulkar.”
In our lives and times, Bharat has leaned on it name. Hard. it’s a reputation we’ve got used as mythology and as mantra, as hope and as diacetylmorphine.
It is conjointly a reputation, I even have argued for quite your time currently, that doesn’t belong during a picture. The narrative is simply too godlike, too unrivaled, too freed from greys and conflict to truly create stirring cinema. A movie about him would end up paying obeisance, not telling a tale. It would capitalise Him, and likely be closer to Jai Santoshi Maa than to Dhoni. A rise and rise and rise does not a story make.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams is thankfully not a biopic. This is a documentary not merely about the man with that name, but one narrated by him, one where he tells his own story in his own words. It is not journalistic or incisive or probing. It feels, instead, intimate – as intimate as it can feel, anyway, for a film where an audience claps and cheers alongside those who clapped and cheered live, years ago. Which is to say: it is us today applauding in time with us yesterday.
An example of how personal this feels: I have never, ever heard an audience of the press break into unanimous and spontaneous applause at a film’s intermission. Yet, technically speaking, it is unexciting filmmaking. Director James Erskine clunkily strings together a greatest-hits narrative by numbers, with a constantly swelling background score, too many reverential voices and zero contrarians. AR Rahman’s music is overwrought – though the fan-favourite Maa Tujhe Salaam is used quite spiffily – and the changing aspect ratio is distracting, as is the tragically un-remastered video footage. There are no narrative flourishes, and the voiceover is overtly literal, featuring shots, for instance, of a lady huffing tiredly up the stairs while Tendulkar tells us his mother never tired. This is a film that unapologetically panders to the fans, one that preaches to the choir.
Good thing it’s a massive choir.
We’re all singing along. It is one thing to refrain from a review when one is too close to a film or people involved in its making, but here that applies to nearly all of us. As his late father Ramesh Tendulkar says in the film, everyone felt Sachin was a member of their families. Thus I knowingly discarded my critic hat. As a fan, I sobbed and felt my heart thump goddamned hard and relived all the ways in which Sachin’s milestones were echoed by my life, simply as they square measure by yours: wherever were you once he took the last over in the Hero Cup? United Nations agency were you with once the hundredth hundredth happened? What communication did you have the day once the tempest in Sharjah? This is a fanboy writing concerning a celebration, and that is very well – as a result of, hey, we’re doing it for Sachin.
There is lots to examine here, from Sachin cradling his newborn daughter’s head as if checking the heft on a brand new bat, to footage from his delightfully chintzy wedding video, complete with unsubdivided cutouts and Vinod Kambli during a fuchsia suit. we have a tendency to learn the way he referred to as Shane Warne to dinner and served the food solely in the dead of night, which, with a tournament underneath means, looked like strategy to the legspinner. we have a tendency to hear the Bappi Lahiri song he plays over and over once he has to channel the ambience, and that we watch him refusing to alter his daughter’s diapers – and instead teaching the kid a way to signal a four.
India changes dramatically through Tendulkar’s 24 year career, best expressed by the file footage of a drastically young Prannoy Roy and, over a decade later, a young Rajdeep Sardesai, newscasters United Nations agency age whereas the story remains an equivalent. we have a tendency to see Wasim Akram arrange to intimidate a sixteen year previous – “The solely drive you will get here is that the one from the building to the arena,” the quick bowler had sneered – and that we watch Tendulkar bat aboard lads United Nations agency learnt cricket by marvelling at his exploits on tv. He shows off his kit-bag – which contains glue, tape, sandpaper and batting grips, which he used to fix colleagues’ bats – and we witness the man with the iconically squeaky voice go even shriller with a mouthful of helium.
There are moments treated as asides which deserved a lot more room, like Tendulkar’s take on the match-fixing scandal, and the film has a terrific shot of Mohammad Azharuddin looking on while Sachin busily signs autographs. Also, as selfless and incredible narratives go, I’d say there’s a really great film waiting to be made on Ajit Tendulkar, Sachin’s elder brother and all-sacrificing tag-team partner, a gentle long-haired sage who speaks like a modest Confucius.
What the documentary does well, however, is show just how deeply pressure and criticism weighed on Sachin. How shamefully his children were jeered at in school when his batting wasn’t upto scratch, and how headlines and editorials baying for his blood affected the man himself. We are, for better or worse, hearing Tendulkar tell his story his way, and it’s interesting to see what he chooses to talk about.
We’re listening. When it comes to Sachin, everything means the world. His initial bat being given by a sister endears her to United States of America forever, etching the instant into content. If you are a believer, you will smile, sob and love this, albeit attributable to the topic and not the film itself. Film, in fact, is AN inadequate word. this can be a journey.