As the country is all set to celebrate National Sports Day, we have a look at some of our Hindi films that were set against the backdrop of sports and gave us some thunderous cinematic moments and awoke the patriot inside us, albeit only for those three darkened hours:-
1. Lagaan (2001)
Although it would be unfair to call Lagaan a mere sports film, one cannot deny the fact that we all collectively came together inside the cinema halls to root for the villagers as they battled the British Raj not in an ugly bloodbath but in the Gentlemen’s Game- Cricket. Predictability was never this stimulating!
2. Chak De! India (2007)
The fact that journeys are more crucial than destinations was affirmed further by Shimit Amin in YRF’s hockey drama, Chak De! India, starring Shah Rukh Khan not as Shah Rukh Khan. It had all the staples one requires to make a sports film- Individual introductions of the characters, fiery confrontations, inevitable rivalries and subsequent triumph. Yet, the film soared and how! It not only gave us a sports film for the ages but also resuscitated our National Game, Hockey, that unfortunately got buried under the rising popularity of Cricket.
3. Sultan (2016)
At the heart of it, Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma’s Sultan was a love story. The film started off as Khan playing a jobless ruffian who has his eyes on the only female wrestler in his village, Aarfa. As the story progressed, the screenplay conveniently yet excitingly tilted towards Bhai and transformed him into a wounded wrestler. Wounded by desertion, wounded by the loss of a loved one and wounded by guilt. Although slammed for allowing Sharma’s character to surrender a flourishing wrestling career, Sultan still remains a respectable sports drama that gave us both Desi Pehelwaani and International Mixed Martial Arts.
4. Dangal (2016)
Another film that had to bear the brunt of quite a few criticisms for forced patriarchy, it was still a humanizing portrayal of a father who yearns to fulfill his dreams through his daughters. A biopic on the former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, Dangal delivered enough goosebumps and galvanizing moments powered by soaring performances and breathtakingly choreographed wrestling scenes.
5. Gold (2018)
Akshay Kumar’s yet another showcase of nationalism and patriotism may not be anywhere close to the aforementioned films, but still deserves a mention for telling a story no one knew about. When it comes to witnessing our nation’s journey from slavery to independence and how the Hockey Team won its first Gold Medal, who wouldn’t want to clap, even if he isn’t a fan of its leading man’s flag-waving?
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Hip Hip Hurray, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Iqbal and M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story
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