As a player he was known as the ‘Little Master’. But nothing other than big, in fact, Bollywood big would be enough to tell the story of the supreme Indian batting genius Sachin Tendulkar.
At well over two hours, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is a very long knock, indeed. In fact, there is actually an intermission, so that you do get to come off for lunch, or tea.
But what director James Erskine has done so well is to fill that time with the full range of strokes. In the middle of which, is lots and lots of Sachin himself.
‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ tells the tale of Tendulkar’s rise to sporting legend
Either being interviewed for the film, in match and news archive, or through some frequently wonderful personal archive.
At one point in the film he is described beautifully as ‘not so much an icon as an emotion.’ And this is something that is apparent throughout.
Beit in the words and feelings of fans, friends, family or fellow pros. Quite how much awe he was, and remains held in, is something this epic tale captures constantly.
Although this is a documentary (on occasion, using subtitles) it actually opens with an extended dramatised sequence of his early years, voiced by Sachin himself.
And even though it may be a little twee for some tastes, it did a really clever job of establishing the boy as the burgeoning legend.
Especially when the same scruffy net on a Mumbai playing field that we see occupied by the Sachin character, is then visited by the man himself. Bringing the whole thing back to what must pass for reality in Tendulkar’s extraordinary existence.
The Bollywood documentary of the Little Master comes in at over two hours
If those first few years were lightly sugar-coated, from there on in it was pretty much front foot all the way.
Which included the frequently edgy relationship with Pakistan, the reaction of the Indian fans to the match fixing scandal, and Sachin’s not particularly healthy history with the Indian cricket board.
Which was illustrated almost comically in a sequence where Sachin explained how he declined the chance to be captain for the second time. At pretty much the same moment he was being announced as being it.
A strange affair, especially given the fact that as we’re told, the ‘telecast revolution’ that has made India’s cricket administration so all powerful was driven by Sachin with bat in hand.
Of course, what always works so well in any documentary is acknowledgement from contemporaries and peers. And ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is not short of them.
A favourite moment is when Wasim Akram recalled thinking ‘what’s this little kid going to do?’ when his team first encountered him in 1989. It didn’t take them too long to find out.
Although Shane Warne is, as ever, also great value. Explaining how their initial rivalry turned into a genuine friendship. Before outing his batsman pal as a die hard Dire Straits fan.
In spite of the all star line up, as you’d imagine, it is Sachin who is the star of this particular show. Looking every inch the superstar on interview, he did in fact sound scripted at times during the documentary.
Sachin Tendulkar scored over 15,000 Test runs over the years for India
But he is narrating an exhaustive story, so that may well have been a trick that was used to join the whole thing up. Nevertheless, it is the little moments that actually spoke volumes to me.
There is a great scene where he was getting away from it all with friends at a go kart course in Goa. And the times he talks with such affection about his brother Ajit’s influence on his life.
But two sequences in particular hit home for me. First, when we see him going through his coffin – kept perfectly across the years, and still ready for action.
Taped inside the lid, he touched a crayon drawing of the Indian flag his children had given him. And told us as he went through his repair kit, how players would bring him their bats for him to patch up.
Then when he was in England with his teenage son Arjun, and shared his wisdom in a net with him. Working on his bowling, batting, and placing imaginary fields for him to beat.
Watching father with son, you could only imagine how much pressure there must be, to be a young cricketer called Tendulkar? But then again, that’s exactly what it was like for Sachin himself. And he did ok!
Something that this expansive, colourful, occasionally hyperbolic, but always compelling film captured with genuine style and not a little flourish. Sound familiar?
via Cricket Articles | Mail Online
May 26, 2017 at 12:18PM