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A celebration of Sachin


Autobiography Of Sachin Tendulkar Movie Cartoon.How do you solve a problem like Sachin Tendulkar? Opposing teams have spent more than two decades asking themselves that. I got the feeling that the makers of "Sachin: A Billion Dreams" considered him a problem to solve, albeit in a different way. This is a man who was the focus and the love and the pride of one of the biggest countries in the world. How would they make a film about him?

They did it by making a film that was equal parts highlights reel and PR. Squeezed in between these were a few touching and delightful moments with the people who have known Sachin closely, and the man himself.

The film starts at the very beginning, with reenactments of moments from Sachin’s youth. We get to know his family, through current day interviews as well as through the actors. A portrait emerges of a carefree boy who lived to make mischief. There is an Iconic Moment when the young boy receives his first cricket bat, a gift from his older sister who was returning from Kashmir. A brief montage later, Sachin’s elder brother Ajit, having seen his potential, takes him to be coached by Ramakant Acharekar in Shivaji Park.

After his training begins, the film slowly moves away from the reenactments. As Sachin was undoubtedly a prodigy, there were enough newspaper clippings and TV interviews for people to get an early glimpse at the boy wonder. At a larger scale, it is fascinating to watch the mischievous boy and playful teenager slowly change, under the pressure of the responsibility weighing down on him, into the measured, diplomatic Tendulkar who avoids controversy as much as possible.

Over the next two hours, we see Sachin’s journey from teenage debutant who faced Wasim & Waqar’s bouncers on debut to the grand old man of Indian cricket giving an emotional farewell speech at Wankhede. Because of the sheer size of his career, the film trots through the truncated highlights of series against England, Australia, Pakistan, Australia again, World Cups, controversies in Indian cricket and more at a fairly brisk pace. People who follow Indian cricket know all this and people who don’t follow cricket might get bored with the repetition.

Relief comes in the form of occasional asides from people who have gotten to know Sachin better than the rest of the world. A perfect example is a video taken as the Indian team celebrated Sachin’s 35th Test century, which meant he now had the most centuries by any player in Test cricket. Ganguly and Kumble show their sense of humour. Dravid is endearingly earnest. Dhoni and Harbhajan make playful jokes. You can feel the sense of intimacy shared by these people who spend hours together on and off the field.

The anecdotes shared by his family members and the accompanying home videos are also fascinating. Sachin started out in a middle-class family and he seems to have held on to that essential identity even as his fame and prosperity grew exponentially. He keeps his family close as it is the one part of his life where he can be normal. His mother, his siblings and his wife all give insights into how he acts, and how they have had to adjust their lives.

Sachin himself does a fair bit of narration over clips of himself. He also spends a lot of time talking straight into the camera. The latter always seems like he is about to promote some product, that this entire movie is an elaborate excuse to advertise something. And in a way it is. 

This movie is an advertisement for Sachin. It goes through his achievements, touches on his charity work (in a manner that reeks of corporate PR), provides a few positive glimpses of his most significant sponsors and has nothing negative to say about almost anyone, apart from Mohammed Azharuddin and Greg Chappell.

Cricket fans - especially Indians - like to joke about “the script” of Inzamam-Ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain. His English was not great, so he had a set statement that he would make after most matches: the boys played well, did their best, we won/lost by grace of god etc. This movie feels like a 2 hr 20 minute version of the same thing. Sachin is constantly saying: I tried my best, I put in full effort, I couldn’t have done it without my family. He sounds like a self-help guru whose advice is inevitably as generic as possible.

We never get to know what or how Sachin thinks. Very often, he talks about how he felt at a point in his career. But the actual working of his famous "cricketing brain" never comes through. The closest we get are a couple of awestruck anecdotes from Gary Kirsten and Virat Kohli about how Sachin would sometimes hit the ball with his eyes closed in practice. Sachin himself says nothing and this movie does not question him. Perhaps this is why he was never a good captain: everything was too instinctive for him, or he wasn't good at saying what he was thinking.

This movie is a nostalgia trip. People who lived through Sachin’s career get to relive it. People who know of him, because it was impossible to avoid knowing of him in India for two and half decades, will appreciate the highlights. But there is not much new.

The people around him are the best parts of the movie. Perhaps an oral history of Sachin Tendulkar, undertaken as an independent project, would be more enlightening. You will not walk out of this movie feeling like you know the man. Just that you know a little more about him.

"If cricket is a religion, Sachin is a God." Looks like God is still very much ineffable.


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Nandan Krishnaswamy is a copywriter who reads too much in his spare time. He played cricket as a ch...

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