Sachin Tendulkar – the name is enough to arouse admiration, respect and excitement among Indians at present. There are several personalities excelling in their respective fields but Sachin is truly an exception. A documentary on him is a good idea but releasing it on a big scale in theatres is a risky proposition. After all, it can work as it’s about Sachin after all! But is it entertaining enough to keep the viewers gripped? Thankfully, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is quite an engaging flick that surely deserves a watch even for those who know it all about the Master Blaster.
‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ chronicles the life of Sachin Tendulkar from his childhood till his retirement. It covers all the significant episodes of his career – his first Test Match in Pakistan, rise as a national icon, his association with Mohd Azharuddin and other cricketers, The Match Fixing scandal, the various World Cups, experience with Greg Chappell, IPL and a lot more. Simultaneously, it also throws light on his personal life, how he met his wife, his love for his children, his father’s demise, love for his mother and siblings etc.
Making a documentary is never easy and it becomes tougher when one is trying to cover the life of an influential cricketer that too in just 139 minutes. In that regard, director James Erskine scores brownie points. He manages to put forward unknown aspects of Sachin’s life (I doubt many people know about his various quirks and superstitious behavior in detail). And the ones that are already in public domain, he presents them in an entertaining manner. Also, he seamlessly jumps from one episode of his life to another. In between, he also smoothly inserts experiences of Sachin with his family members and close friends but nothing looks out of place ever. The finale is quite exhilarating as it shows the dramatic World Cup 2011 finale and Sachin’s retirement speech.
Sadly, the film has its share of minor blemishes. The interest dips at places and James could have done away with a few scenes, especially the beach shot in between the World Cup 2011 Final and Sachin’s last match. Secondly, the subtitles overlap with the scoreboard or text in other such footage and the result was that one could read neither of the two. This could have been easily avoided by the makers.
A.R. Rahman’s music adds to the excitement. “Hind Mere Jind” and the title track leave a mark. The background score is also as impactful. Chris Openshaw’s cinematography is decent. Sandeep Srivastava does a fairly good job as the Hindi dialogue writer. Deepa Bhatia and Avdesh Mohla’s editing is razor sharp and at the same time, allows the film to slow down during tragic or emotional moments. James Erskine and Siva Ananth do very well as writers. The manner in which they have taken significant episodes of Tendulkar’s life and interviews of him, his family members and others (Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Boria Majumdar etc) is praiseworthy. The childhood portions of Sachin are shown by dramatizing it, involving actors who essay him and his family members and it’s nicely done. James Erskine’s direction deserves praise for all the above reasons and despite few glitches.
On the whole, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is a well-made and entertaining docudrama that surely deserves a watch not just for Sachin Tendulkar fans but for all Indians.