Hindi cinema’s most inspiring sports movies
There are two things that rule the hearts of every Indian – Cricket and Bollywood. In a country where Bollywood and Cricket are treated on par with religion, it is inspiring to see both these themes come together. With passing time, even other sports have garnered a lot of interest amongst Indians. And Indian filmmakers noticed this growing sports frenzy and tapped the opportunity giving us some of the finest sports films in Hindi cinema. Sports and cinema may have very little in common but when put together they make one hell of a combination.
Therefore, it is not hard to see why Hindi sports films impact viewers so much. These movies evoke inspiration and a sense of team spirit and patriotism in viewers. Cricket being the favored sport of the country, several Hindi films have been centered around this sport in the last few years.
We bring you our pick of the top five Hindi sports movies that have successfully portrayed the intricacies of the respective sport they showcased.
Chak De India (Hockey)
This movie is based on Hockey which is the national sport of India and the present situation of this wonderful sport is not as honoring as it should be. Chak De India is a successful attempt to depict the sport in the most perfect manner. It’s a brave attempt to revive the losing interest of the general masses towards the game. Some say that the story of the movie is inspired from the real life character of Mir Ranjan Negi. In this film, Shahrukh Khan, in one of his best performances of all time, plays the coach of the national women’s hockey team. He himself was a hockey player who had represented the men’s team as a captain but failed to make a successful career out of it. Now he has a big job in his hand, the most important so far in his life, to coach the women’s team of India which is divided on various basis. They have the biggest tournament, the Hockey World Cup in front of them. The title song of the movie became like a second National Anthem of India.
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (Cycling)
The film is set against the backdrop of a lesser known sport in our country, cycling. It was also an important movie in the beginning of a successful acting career for Aamir Khan. The story revolves around an annual inter-collegiate cycling event. The film showcases the rivalry between the colleges but also has a strong underlying thread of friendship, brotherhood and a father-son relationship. The film is a morale booster and also portrays true sportsman spirit where a player fights till the very end and emerges victorious. The film was directed by Mansoor Khan (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak fame) and was later remade in Bengali, Telugu and Tamil owing to its phenomenal success. The music of the film by composers Jatin – Lalit was also well received and is continued to be remembered even today.
Paan Singh Tomar (Athletics)
This movie is a tribute to a real life hero cum athlete of India, Paan Singh Tomar, who represented India on an international level in the steeplechase race. Irrfan Khan beautifully plays the role of the iconic athlete serving in the Indian Army. It’s based on a true life story where a seven time national steeplechase champion turns into a dacoit due to circumstances. The movie traces the journey of this hero into a rebel and also showcases the plight of athletes in our country who bring home laurels but become victims of poverty and neglect. Scenes on the track & field in the movie are shot to a level of perfection. Director Tigmanshu Dhulia was applauded for the apt treatment of this biopic set in rustic India.
Iqbal is a beautiful and heart-warming tale of a deaf and mute boy, an avid cricket enthusiast, who aspires to join the Indian cricket team. The film marks the debut of Shreyas Talpade who plays the role of Iqbal and nurtures a dream of becoming a cricketer. His dream is given a thrust when Naseeruddin Shah, an ex-cricketer, decides to coach him. However Naseeruddin has to first overcome his own failure of not making it to the national cricket team and resorting to a lifelong addiction to alcohol. He and Iqbal both struggle day and night and owing to his will and determination, Iqbal overcomes his physical disability and is able to fulfill his lifelong dream. The film was directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and became the highest grossing low-budget film in the year. It is a truly inspirational film with a unique approach.
Once again an Aamir Khan film that won immense acclaim. Lagaan, which was nominated for the Academy Awards, told a tale of grit and resilience in the British-ruled India. A group of villagers agree to play a match of cricket against the British officers to save the village from paying exorbitant taxes, despite having no idea about how the game is played. The film showed that anything is possible if you’re determined and united in your fight for a cause. Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the film boasts of power packed performances by an ensemble cast and is one of the most successful Hindi films ever made.
– Aparna Hajirnis