'Sachin: A Billion Dreams' is a solid life story, an engaging docu-drama that makes its resonant points count with a solid, searing affection for the man in this frame- the cricket god, Sachin Tendulkar himself. The film's first half is pure goosebumps- it explores the childhood of Sachin, the youth days, the academics-cricket balance quiet effectively. You see where the drama lies despite the real camcordings.
But in the second half the film questionably meanders. You look up and find the FILM here wearing down- the second half is more a documentary. The story is solid, as well as smashingly effective- but far from a soaring fairytale. Sachin deserved more. My, possibly yours also, India's- literal sports-god, needed more drama. The film is a well-crafted one, but the soul isn't exactly as great in the rendering as it could have with all those great shots out there. But still, please watch 'Sachin: A Billion Dreams' because it is a sappy, all-heart and well-executed documentation of the life of the man of the times. Needs to be seen, but needed to be more cinematically done.
the movie makes every indian to feel proud
It is not surprising that a British filmmaker who specializes in TV was chosen to make a documentary about someone who is regarded highly by at least 7 out of 10 people in India. We really don't know how James Erskine came on board, but we can be sure that he hasn't watched Azhar (2016) or M S Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) for then this sports documentary wouldn't have made the same mistakes they did.
Narrating the story of legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from his childhood when he first picked up a bat to his retirement in 2013, the documentary tries to masquerade as a film and goes on to etch his story into India's history of the last 30 years. How Sachin as a young boy is supported by his family to follow his call, how he met his wife Anjali and got married to her, how he dealt with failure, what his single-biggest dream was, his highs and lows, his health, and his connection with the Indian people is all what the documentary explores. Much how the two biopics mentioned earlier were made, here the idea of the makers is to accentuate Sachin's appeal as a legendary cricketer by avoiding objectivism. It is clear from the first frame that the makers had no idea to go deeper into the specifics, and instead just provide a superficial chronological time-line of his life that is already present in the public domain. Executed with doses of sentiments of peripheral patriotism, this one is as straightforward as it can get.
The biggest problem with the documentary is that it takes "cricket is a religion in India" too seriously and tries to tie Sachin's endeavors as elements that carved India's fate and are reasons why and how India is as it is today - which is first-class drivel. So much that it goes on to exaggerate a couple of events just to prove its point. Statements like "change in the country's luck", "country's fate", and "the power of Indians" are employed to give emphasis to the point.
For people wondering why we cannot call it a film, it's because the film is basically a collection of cricket match footage since the 80s and interviews. Of course, there are emotions attached to certain matches which bring back nostalgia (to Indians), which is why I have to use the word "goosebumps" here, but play any nail-biting match in the history of Indian cricket which was a turning point for the national team, and those pimples are sure to crop up. Former batsmen and bowlers, journalists, celebrities, his family members, and Sachin himself share their thoughts about the subject as the documentary simultaneously moves ahead in the time-line. There are some interesting tidbits that it offers - for example, episodes of match-fixing, rivalry, age-gap between players, and other miscellaneous events that shaped cricket in India - which are the only novel thing an average Indian will find in this feature. For outsiders, it will be much more.
How Sachin changed the essence of cricket in India, and helped it rise from its ashes is what the makers and Sachin himself repeatedly convey in the documentary. The only problem is that it is not entirely convincing. Showing that his dream is synonymous with the country's dream as far as cricket is concerned is bit of an overstatement, and that is what plays with its appeal.
Director Erskine has surely made a recipe that evokes emotions and pulls a cricket fan back to the good old days. The screenplay is crisp and filled with substance, even though most of it is rehash. The problem is that this is not how biopics are made. The characters do a decent job at talking out, and if character performance is really to be mentioned - it should be about the two young actors who played young Sachin. They looked like they were enjoying. Other than that, it's mostly Tendulkar, his wife, and other known players doing the talking.
All in all, it's a well-executed documentary that plays very safe and does not get bowled out. It will not disappoint a fan, but might a cinema enthusiast.
BOTTOM LINE: James Erskine's "Sachin" may have got the tag-line "A Billion Dreams" wrong, but it surely is an enjoyable, one-time affair. Just don't expect Sachin to open his closet. Go for a weekday afternoon show!
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES
India begins its defense of the Champions Trophy in a week's time with the first clash against arch rivals Pakistan. Whether our team manages to defend the title remains to be seen but this excitement for the game began after we had lifted the WC in 1983. However, it was the greatest cricketer of all time Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who skyrocketed our interest with his brilliance, humility & character. In the 90s, he was so dominant that the opposition feared him while the public adored him to the extent that people used to switch off the TV after he was dismissed. He has given us numerous memories over the years & carried the hopes of the nation for more than two decades. Hence when director James Erskine announced that he was planning a movie on the Bharat Ratna, the hype & excitement had gone through the roof. In recent times, there has been quite a few biographical movies about sports personalities like M S Dhoni, Milkha Singh, Phogat etc. However, this was a docu-drama rather than an biopic & it remains to be seen whether it would be as awesome as the legend himself.
Sachinnnn...Sachinnnn...the chant still reverberates in my ears every time I set eyes on a cricket match. Just like many others, he was the sole reason why I started to watch the game & is one of the two idols that I always looked upto (the other being my father). I still remember the day when I first saw him on TV giving an interview to Tom Alter. In those days, the only cricketer's name that I knew was Kapil Dev & I was pretty fascinated to see a puny kid who was just 8 years older to me rub shoulders with the big guys. So I coaxed my mom, who was an avid sports lover to teach me the rules of the game. Incidentally the first match that I saw was the exhibition match in which he smashed the legendary Abdul Qadar for 27 which included four consecutive sixes. This craze continued until he hung his boots at the Wankhede Stadium after 24 long years. Erskine has tried to capture the highs & lows of Sachin's career, something which is not so easy after all he must have been the most scrutinized sports icon in the world. So there is hardly anything that most of us don't know about the Master Blaster.
James Erskine might not be a popular name for many but those who are well versed with sports documentaries, he is a doyen at it. Some of his popular ventures being "Battle of the Sexes", "Pantani", "Shooting for Socrates" etc. In his latest venture "Sachin: A Billion Dreams", he has pretty much covered all the major events in Sachin's life with insights provided by his family being the highlight. Knowing the person that Sachin is, it wasn't a surprise that nothing much has been revealed about the match fixing scandal but ample screen time is devoted on his relation with his father, his injuries & mental state during the lows of his career. Even though the music wasnt vintage A R Rahman, it was in sync with the mood & elevates the viewing experience.
Verdict: It wont rate as a top notch documentary drama but it has got everything that would keep us hooked. Sachin is not just a name but an emotion & for all of those individuals who had followed his career, this will give us an opportunity to relive the memories. It will make us smile, hoot, whistle & even choke a bit when he gives his heartfelt retirement speech. Being a hard core Sachin fan, I might be biased but even if you are only a cricket fan; you just cant afford to miss this!!!
Sachin: A Billion Dreams, a biographical documentary film by James Erskine, celebrates the life of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, his highs as well as lows, philosophy of life, value system, humility, assertiveness etc. mostly narrated in his own words. His very presence in the film makes it very special and real. It was like reliving those moments, which we have watched on television, along with the legend himself. This film shall not be reviewed keeping the box office numbers or commercial value attached to it, since the film is all about the number of centuries earned by Sachin on field, number of records created by him during his 24 years of professional cricketing career and how he and cricket became synonyms. This film certainly can’t be compared to MS Dhoni or even Azhar since the format of this film is entirely different. Audience was not happy with the superficial touch given to Azhar whereas MS Dhoni became a huge hit commercially, people loved this film. Both the real and reel Dhoni were appreciated for an honest and entertaining treatment given to the film. And here is a documentary film on one of the greatest cricket player which our country and the world has seen- Sachin Tendulkar. It is about Sachin’s life in his own words and also in words of people associated with him during his journey. The narratives by him and others add a lot of credibility to the whole film. Indeed his insurmountable achievements are very well documented, and it may appear as a replay on screen, but Sachin’s narratives do let us know what was actually going on in his mind during every victory or loss. Another unique phenomenon which is used in the film is linking the journey of Sachin with India’s positioning in the global map. Glimpses from India’s partition days to India of today’s date are shown interspersed with the film which talked about the transformation of India in parallel to Sachin’s incredible journey. The title of the film is absolutely justified, since it is not only about Sachin but about India, all those billion dreams and expectations when Sachin stepped on to the field and how Sachin aligned his dreams with the Nation’s dreams. So, for me, this is not a film, rather beyond that, depicting the very life of a living legend, a genius, who will always remain the pride of our country. If you are a cricket fan, you would certainly not like to miss this one.
It is adorable to watch the little Sachin as a very naughty child. One can hardly believe that there was this naughty side as well to Sachin. He had tremendous energy as a child, and his brother Ajit Tendulkar introduced him to the game of cricket when he got a cricket bat as gift from his sister. Ajit, who could see a spark in his brother, took Sachin to Ramakant Vithal Achrekar so as to get coaching from him. And Sachin’s journey began at Shivaji Park. The film does talk of his strong bond with family members and friends. His father instilled a great value system in him to be a great human being first.
Family videos shown in the film did show lovely moments of his life with Anjali and kids Sara and Arjun. His wedding video, moments of Sara and Arjun’s birth, he playing with kids, his time with friends etc. brings forth his personal side as well. Sacrifice by his family members, his wife all are also shown in the
While watching the film, I did experience his highs, lows, his pain of losing a match, his excitement after winning a match etc. It is also great to see certain aspects of his playing various roles in life other than a cricketer viz. that of a son, brother, father, husband and friend. I did get goosebumps with the thundering applause Sachin received everytime he entered the ground to play, the kind of euphoria the very name Sachin created. His farewell speech of 2013 did move me.
It could be possible that people who are not cricket lovers might find the tone of the film to be very plain and not very entertaining.
Sachin’s journey does reiterate the fact that one has to be committed, honest, consistent, persistent and hard working in life. Complacency is the enemy of excellence. Especially when one plays for the country, when huge expectations are there from the player, one certainly feels tremendous pressure to perform, at the same time, it is a great responsibility. Mistakes can’t be afforded. And Sachin’s life does go through lows, be it his non-performance during captaincy, his getting removed as Indian Cricket Team’s captain overnight, match-fixing controversies of team members, people getting wild with the failures etc. Sachin believed in the value system instilled by his father that a player can’t be bigger than the team, got back in form with much harder practice. Injuries and failures used to hurt him, but then he focused on his dream of holding the world cup in his hand. What an incredible 24 years of journey from 1989 to 2013.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams celebrates the life of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, his highs as well as lows, philosophy of life, value system, humility, assertiveness etc. Indeed his insurmountable achievements are very well documented, and it may appear as a replay on screen, but Sachin’s narratives do let us know what was actually going on in his mind during every victory or loss. If you are a cricket fan, you would certainly not like to miss this one. Sachin is indeed not a name, it is an emotion. A tribute to the living legend.