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Sachin: A Billion Dreams  : Straight Drive All The Way
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Friday, May 26, 2017
James Erskine
Sachin Tendulkar

For the millions who still go ‘Sachin, Sachin’, this one’s for all of you.


With no claims to being a feature film, the 2 hour 15 minute documentary goes into unseen areas.Anjali Tendulkar discloses that she went over and told his parents that Sachin wanted to marry her because he was too shy to do it himself. And you go into his home to see him as playful father to Sara and Arjun.


Uppermost of course is his legendary cricketing career. The time a tender young Tendulkar got a ball on his nose and started bleeding on the crease. When Javed Mianded told the lad with the heavy bat that he couldn’t possibly play anymore, the little man cleaned his nose, put ice on it and made Pakistan sweat. Those Indo-Pak matches were always more than just cricket, concedes Sachin, with visuals of winning shots against Wasim Akram and Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar.


How Sachin worked around Shane Warne’s bowling, the Sehwags and Dhonis who grew from being ardent Sachin fans to sharing the dressing room with him, and Ajit, the brother who was mentally out there playing the game with him at every single moment, make it a comprehensive story of a world class cricketer. The music that soothed him or Sachin packing his kit with precision, the master blaster making a special pad for himself or repairing other people’s bats,provide a personal view of his life.


Alongside Sachin’s life story are glimpses of the rise of India as a global power and the rising financial muscle of the cricket board.


There are fleeting references to his stand-off with Azharuddin, his disastrous stint as captain when he felt that the team wasn’t playing together, and pulling out of captaincy the second time around. And there’s Greg Chappell’s negativity that proved costly for the team.


Director James Erskine documents a straight, all-round success story of the man and his matches, with Sachin himself threading it all together rather well. It’s not a balanced critique, of catches that were dropped at the World Cup semi-final that helped Sachin get his 80 or the tax write-off sought on his Ferrari or the excruciatingly overdue retirement.


But look at it as an inspirational story of a boy from a lower middle class family who lived his dream. The many low points that didn’t sink him but made him even more determined to bash on and rise.Right till he gets that elusive World Cup, his teammates dedicating the trophy to him, carrying him around the field and the tricolour fluttering with pride.


There are many such moments that bring a lump to the throat especially his retirement speech at Wankhede Stadium, his home ground.


For a well-documented film on India’s Bharat Ratna, Sachin: A Billion Dreams gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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