Indian sports stories that made it big on silver screen

Picture credit: en.wikipedia.org

Many Indian sports heroes and people have inspired movies to be made. And several of them did well too.

DH lists a few movies that kept the cash registers ringing in the box office:

Dangal – 2016 (wrestling)

Worldwide gross box office collection: Rs 7,02,47,50,000 (Source: boxofficeindia)

This movie is roughly based on the life of sisters and wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari and their father and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat.

This movie is directed by Nitesh Tiwari.

Mahavir Singh, played by Aamir Khan, is a former amateur wrestler and national champion. He is forced to give up wrestling by his father and asked to take up a job. He is sad about not being able to win a medal for India. He vows to coach his unborn son to an international medal. However, he gives up after having four daughters.

Two of his older daughters – Geeta and Babita – once come home after beating up two boys after the latter make derogatory comments on them. Mahavir Singh then understands their potential and coaches them, much to the dismay of the conservative villagers. The girls initially hate the gruelling training but later realise it is for their good.

Once at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala for the national camp, the Geeta and Babita face a lot of challenges before Geeta wins a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.

MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)

Worldwide gross box office collection: Rs 1,89,82,72,500 approx (Source: boxofficeindia)

Directed by Neeraj Pandey, this biographical film relives the life of wicketkeeper-batsman and former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The movie depicts Dhoni’s talent being spotted by a cricket coach while goalkeeping in a football game. Dhoni is called for cricket trials for the school team and is selected.

Later, the movie shows how he played cricket and working as a ticket collector in the Railways. Further, trying times in his career and personal are also brought in and so is his meeting with Sakshi Rawat, whom he marries later.

His important role in India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup win comes towards the end.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – 2013

Worldwide gross box office collection: Rs 1,63,78,00,000 approx (Source: boxofficeindia)

A young Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar) is scarred by the partition of British India into India and Pakistan and the incidents in which most in his family are killed.

The movie is based on Singh’s autobiography (The Race of My Life), which was co-written by his daughter Sonia Sanwalka.

Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, this movie shows the life of athlete Milkha who struggles with tragic memories of the partition even as an adult. The movie begins with the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he finishes fourth due to memories of the partition.

Earlier, ahead of the 1956 Olympics, Singh has a one-night stand with the granddaughter of an Australian coach and loses the race. This stirs Singh and he begins to work hard. The movie ends with Singh winning a race in Pakistan and General Ayub Khan giving him the title of The Flying Sikh.

Chak De! India – 2007

Worldwide gross box office collection: Rs 1,01,81,70,000 approx (Source: boxofficeindia)

Directed by Shimit Amin, the movie is about Kabir Khan (played by Shah Rukh Khan) who coaches the Indian women’s hockey team to victory in the World Cup.

As a player, he misses a penalty stroke against Pakistan in the World Cup and is branded a traitor. He is hesitantly appointed the coach because of this incident.

This movie was inspired by the Indian women’s team’s triumph in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Kabir Khan’s character was to be based on women’s hockey coach MK Kaushik, who suggests that screenwriter Jaideep Sahni meet former India player Mir Ranjan Negi, who was accused of throwing a match against Pakistan in the 1982 Asian Games.

Sahni later said that the script’s similarity to Negi’s real life was purely coincidental.

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

Worldwide gross box office collection: 65,97,00,000 approx (Source: boxofficeindia)

Set in the Victorian period of the British rule in India, inhabitants of Champaner are being forced to pay high taxes (lagaan).

In the movie directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, people are unable to pay taxes due to the drought.

Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) mocks a game of cricket and gets into an argument with an English officer, who insults them.

The commanding officer of the cantonment then challenges the villagers to a cricket match with the condition that they need not pay taxes for three years if they win against a team of Englishmen. But if they lose, they would have to pay three times the current tax.

Faced with a lot of odds in putting the team together and learning cricket, the villagers manage to beat the team of Englishmen. The commanding officer is then forced to pay taxes himself.

Sachin – A Billion Dreams (2017)

Worldwide gross box office collection: Rs 64,95,15,000 approx (Source: boxofficeindia)

This documentary on the life and career of master batsman Sachin Tendulkar depicts aspects of his life that were never known before.

Directed by James Erskine, the documentary is mainly narrated by Tendulkar. It has several video clips of his family and personal life, interviews and matches. There are two parts of it – one is how the ‘God of Cricket’ started playing cricket till 1999 and other one is till India won the World Cup in 2011.

Other parts that it focuses on are the India-Pakistan rivalry, how he met his wife Anjali, Tendulkar losing his father before the 1999 World Cup, rivalries with players, how his brother Ajit helped the batsman during difficult times such as before the 2011 World Cup.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag are also interviewed in the documentary.

Other sports movies worth watching:

Gold – 2018 (hockey)

Mary Kom – 2014 (boxing)

Soorma – 2018 (hockey)

Azhar – 2016 (cricket)

Sultan – 2016 (wrestling)

Paan Singh Tomar – 2012 (athletics)

Iqbal – 2005 (cricket)

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar – 1992 (cycling)

Saala Khadoos – 2016 (boxing)

Kai Po Che! – 2013 (cricket)

Hip Hip Hurray – 1984 (general sports)

Boxer – 1984 (boxing)

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Indian sports stories that made it big on silver screen

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