Banners: 200NotOut, Carnival Pictures
Producers: Ravi Bhagchandka, Shrikant Bhasi
Director: James Erskine
Writers: James Erskine, Siva Ananth
Music: AR Rahman
Cinema and cricket are two of the biggest passions in India and when a film is made on cricket’s greatest hero, Sachin Tendulkar, what you get is a smashing result on the silver screen. Ever since the beginning of his career, Tendulkar has been put on a pedestal by the entire country, and Sachin: A Billion Dreams showcases the life of a living legend.
When you leave the auditorium, you feel a rush of emotion and a sense of pride in learning something about the life of our very own God of cricket.
As you step into the auditorium, you get a sense that you are walking into a cricket stadium. It’s been ages since the Indian audience has been treated to an unconventional docu-drama, and this one is simple yet engrossing. Sachin: A Billion Dreams charms not only with its unpretentious writing and flow of events but is also married perfectly with Tendulkar’s honesty on screen.
Ever since the film was announced, it generated considerable anticipation and everyone, from the audience to the trade, was anxious to see just what it would deliver. The film not only lives up to its immense expectations but exceeds them — and that is no mean achievement. The icing on the cake is the use of archival footage of the Master Blaster, on and off the field. Blended expertly with the narrative, it reveals a side of Tendulkar that we haven’t seen before. The dramatised version of his childhood has been shot very well.
The film starts with little Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and how, with the help of his family, he became a cricketing God. The film sends out the message that to be a God, it is not enough to be gifted. Thus, the film is an inspiring journey of hard work, perseverance, family support, and hardship before success.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams chronicles Tendulkar’s journey from being a child, to his brother Ajit recognising his talent and recommending him to Coach Ramakant Achrekar to train in the game. It also reveals how Tendulkar’s family supported him through his highs and lows. While most of us are familiar with Tendulkar’s professional journey, we are now privy to his personal struggles during those times.
There are many touching situations, from Tendulkar playing for his country despite his father’s demise, to becoming captain at a young age, his first meeting with his wife Anjali, the birth of his daughter and son, and his time with his friends. The film is also a perfect throwback to some of the iconic matches of all time.
Directorially, James Erskine overwhelms with a well-defined and well-scripted story of a living legend. The most heartfelt sequence in the film is that of Tendulkar and his struggle along with his loyalty for the game and his country. Erskine’s story has a certain effortlessness attached to it, making the story a flowing delight on the big screen. There is not a dull moment in the film, which redefines the boundaries of cinema for a documentary feature.
As a writer, Erskine along with Siva Ananth had a tough task to mix many of Tendulkar’s achievements. And the duo has done outstanding job while putting together a narrative of two hours and 18 minutes – crisp, natural, touching and witty. A R Rahman’s music is good and subtle in the background. The track Sachin Sachin gives you goosebumps and echoes in your mind long after the film ends.
Cinematography by Chris Openshaw is top notch and the footage of the matches and Tendulkar’s family moments are beautifully encapsulated. Editing by Deepa Bhatia and Avdhesh Mohla is perfect. The end is emotional but not melodramaz. A special mention to cricketing legends, some from overseas, like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Brian Lara and Wasim Akram, who have contributed to the film with their brilliant quotes. Inputs from sports reporters Harsha Bhogle, Boria Majumdar and Gideon Haigh work well for the film. Tendulkar does a brilliant job narrating his story and his scenes with his family have been shot very well.