Nearly four years after Sachin Tendulkar played his 200th Test match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, we get to see a biopic of the legend – a cricketing journey of 24 years relived in two hours and 20 minutes.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams is not just a movie chronicling the master blaster's journey from an ordinary Mumbaikar kid, who loves a prank, to a world-class cricket player. The movie is literally the tale of a cricket-crazy nation that went through its ups and downs through this little man.
This is one movie where you know the plot from the start to finish – you probably can babble out all the landmark events in his life, better than Sachin himself, you would have watched all his match-winning knocks, keenly followed all his interviews and plastered your wall with his posters.
Also read: Meet the Malayali multiplex mogul who made ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ possible
But as theaters turn into stadiums with the 'Sachiin Sachiiin' chant reverberating, you once again embark on that journey, which began when a curly haired boy got up and said I can, and that too with his bat!
Every one of those cricketing moments that you watched him with bated breath as he faced the best of pace bowlers, those victory cries every time a century was scored, those tears of joy as yet another cricketing glory was etched in our country's name – all the action from the cricketing arena has been packaged well in the movie.
There is not much choreographed stuff here and unlike the earlier biopic of another cricketing great, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, there's no doppelganger reprising the role. Then again, who can fit into the shoes of Sachin Tendulkar and how are we gonna accept it?
Sachin is in charge of his own movie and he does a beautiful job - stand and deliver, like those glorious cover drives. We get to hear Sachin's tale in his own voice and his wife, Anjali Tendulkar, too blends in well, doing a commendable job in narrating the other side of the story.
One by one, all the cricketing greats, from Pakistan's Wasim Akram to Aussie leg spinner Shane Warne to current Indian captain Virat Kohli, tell us how it was playing against and with him.
Two of the darkest phases of Indian cricket are also shown and we get to hear what Sachin has to say about each of those events – another first, probably.
Director James Erskine has done a beautiful job of documenting the cricketing great's life on and off the field and its implications on the Indian masses. The makers have skilfully woven in India's tale with the master's antics on the ground. Sachin's bursting on to the cricketing scene is compared to the liberalization move of the 1990s that opened Indian markets for the global brands. Some of the hitherto unseen videos of the cricketer's personal life are also included.
A.R. Rahman hits all the right notes and the music is pitched to perfection for the sporting movie. Some may argue that this is more of a documentary than a movie, but does that really matter?
Sachin: A Billion Dreams is not just for the cricket fans, who unabashedly cheer for his every shot, it's for everyone who loves an honest tale.
It's like one of his classic shots, when Sachin hits the ball down the ground and nobody moves, but waits for the umpire to signal a boundary. Applause!