Cast: Sachin Tendulkar, Anjali Tendulkar, Sara Tendulkar, Arjun Tendulkar, Mayuresh Pem, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag
Director: James Erskine
Sachin: A Billion Dreams is 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’s a treat to get a peek into Sachin’s childhood. And it’s also a fan-shriek moment to see footage of him in his personal space, looped to Dire Straits and Bappi Lahiri with his wife Anjali, his children—Arjun and Sara, his family and friends.
As soon as the film starts, there are certain moments that will strike an emotional chord. There’s the time he gets a bat from Kashmir, as a gift from his sister — the expression of happiness on his face is infectious.
Then there’s the time Sachin’s elder brother Ajit Tendulkar takes him to the legendary coach Ramakant Achrekar. On the field, the very first ball Sachin faces, destroys his stumps. Ajit tries to reason with Achrekar that Sachin will pick up the correct techniques — and then comes the straight drive that was to become Tendulkar’s signature move in the years to come. Impressed, Achekar asks of Ajit: ‘Naam kya bataya tumhare bhai ka?’
The choice of the child actor playing Sachin is another point in the film’s favour. You won’t be able to tell him apart from the real Sachin (at that age). The story till this point, manages to capture all the trials, tribulations, hopes and desires of a boy from a middle-class family — a boy fired by India’s 1983 World Cup triumph, to repeat the feat for his country.
Sachin narrates the events of his life with unbelievable frankness. He shares the utter disappointment he felt on being removed as the captain. His conviction comes through when he says that the captaincy can be taken away from him — but not cricket.
Inevitably references to ‘Desert Storm’ and the innings against Pakistan in the Chennai Test in 1999 come up. But what makes the film stand out apart from the pieces of cricketing brilliance, is the way Sachin’s relationship with his wife Anjali is depicted. Right from their first meeting, to Anjali giving up on her medical career to support her husband, and how she stood by him through thick and thin — the relationship is shown with a lot of sensitivity.
You’ll have a lump in your throat as Sachin speaks of his father’s death, news of which he got while he was with the Indian team for the World Cup in England in 1999.
Sachin returned to England after attending his father’s last rites and hit a hundred straight away.
Post-interval, the film resumes with the birth of Sachin and Anjali Tendulkar’s son, Arjun. We see Sachin working hard on his son to make him a hardened cricketer. The Tendulkar family believes that Sachin’s father has returned in a new incarnation, in Arjun.
The 2002 Natwest Trophy win gives you goosebumps again — Ganguly taking his shirt off and twirling in the air brought out the whistles from the people assembled in the theatre! The fast-paced music adds to the atmosphere wonderfully. Composed by AR Rahman, the music perfectly befits each scene.
The difficult periods of his life are portrayed with a lot of sensitivity, and the story-telling is at all times, crisp and articulate.
This film is important one because for a nation that revers cricket.