Free Press Journal

Sachin: A Billion Dreams – 5 counts on which the film is a letdown


‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is a nicely made docu-drama, which takes efforts to encapsulates the life of the legendary cricketer in two hours, which is an achievement in itself. And, of course, there is a lot to like about the film. But, it still left too much to imagination, which is not surprising, as it often happens in India. No matter how famous they are, celebs in our country often tend to take the safe route while retelling their life stories.

Azhar-Sachin clash: The alleged ego clash between Sachin and Mohammad  Azharuddin was one of the biggest talking point of the 90s in the Indian cricketing circles. And, while there is a passing mention to how there were two power centres emerging in Indian cricket as Azhar fell and Sachin rose, there was nothing new being told. We would have liked a detailed tale of what exactly when wrong between the two. There were after all reports of Sachin claiming Azhar did not give his 100 per cent while playing under him while the latter has constantly maintained that Sachin was not fit for captaincy. The film portrays Azhar as a villain, an easy choice considering his controversial life.

Also Read: Sachin: A Billion Dreams Movie Review: Why the film deserves a standing ovation

No knowledge of match-fixing? Sachin does speak up about the tumultuous times in Indian cricket post the match-fixing scandal breaking out. But, his response on allegations of why he kept quiet was, kuch pata ho to bolu? (I couldn’t only have spoken if I knew something). Certainly, we were expecting a lot more than that. Sachin’s views on the issue are nothing more than an extended silence.

Admission of failing in crunch games: Yes, there was pressure of a billion people on Sachin. But, it is equally a fact that Sachin failed in crunch games. Admitting the same would only have reiterated that he was human and not a superman. Against Australia in the key Super Six match of the 1999 World Cup, Tendulkar departed for a duck to Glenn McGrath. In the 2003 World Cup final, he made 4 before falling again to McGrath, and in the 2011 World Cup final, he managed just 18. These were three big blemishes in Tendulkar’s career. And while that doesn’t make him a lesser cricketer, it was a hint that he perhaps tried a bit too hard in big matches.

Also Read: Sachin: A Billion Dreams leaves Amitabh Bachchan, cricketers emotional with pride

Incapable of handling captaincy: Sachin was arguably the best batsman during his era, but when it comes to leadership, he proved to be rather disappointing. Of course, everyone cannot be good at everything. But, while Sachin did speak out about the fact that he was not informed about being sacked, he wasn’t candid enough to admit that he wasn’t a good captain. Yes, India did not have a great team under him. But, again the story seemed to be told from only one angle, just like it was with the Azhar saga.

No detailing of his struggle before retirement: The docu-drama ended on a perfect note, with Sachin’s famous retirement speech, bringing back glorious memories. However, there was no detailing of the struggle that Sachin endured in the run-up to his retirement. Remember India were thrashed 4-0 in Australia and England, and suffered a series defeat at home as well to the latter. This was time when Sachin just could not find a way to score big runs. It was as if he was chasing that elusive 100th 100, which he eventually got against Bangladesh in a losing cause. The phenomenon is something India has seen before as well, with Kapil Dev elongating his playing days to break Sir Richard Hadlee’s record. Did Sachin ever wonder whether he played on for a bit too long? We will never know.

PS: Of course, this film was Sachin’s story, told his way. But, for a number of die-hard cricket fans from the 90s, insights on crucial chapters of Indian cricket would have been an apt giveback.