As I walked out of the cinema hall after watching Sachin: A Billion Dreams, I wondered: Would I have thought differently of this biopic had I not known anything about the person it is based on? James Erskine’s documentary on one of the most celebrated cricketers in the world – one who has achieved a near-deific status in India – went along expected lines.
But was that because I, like many Indians and cricket followers around the world, already knew so much about Sachin Tendulkar? How would someone living under a rock for the last quarter of a century, and did not know who Tendulkar was, have liked it?
Sachin: A Billion Dreams starts off rather nicely, showing us a naughty curly-haired boy of seven or eight years living in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb, getting up to the usual seven-or-eight-year-old boy things like annoying his neighbours with pranks. The boy then receives a cricket bat as a gift from his elder sister, and this is where the story that most Indians and cricket followers already know begins.
This wasn’t the first time I was watching the celluloid adaptation of a story I already knew. I wasn’t, of course, expecting any suspense or plot twists, but I have been far more entertained by some of those other movies where I already knew what was going to happen, than I was by Sachin: A Billion Dreams. Maybe our man under the rock might think differently, but then a story still needs to be told properly, completely and honestly, and this is where Erskine’s attempt is found lacking. Read More