With the current lockdown underway everyone is trapped in their house and this is the time when cricket fans have the time to catch up with the missed movies and TV shows.
In the time when there are no live games going on, you may want to muse over some of the best available movies (web series) about cricket.
Here’s our Top 5 in the cricket movie universe.
One of the best-ever films produced by the Indian industry and only the third Bollywood movie to get nominated for the prestigious Oscar awards, Lagaan was a complete blockbuster in 2001. Even 19 years later, Lagaan remains the most popular sports drama in India, a country that has produced tens of very good movies in this particular genre. Set in the pre-Independent India, Lagaan had all the boxes ticked off to gain the national audience’s attention: cricket, love story and patriotic feelings against the British.
The story is about a village struggling against drought and unfair taxes. The British suggest that the villagers play a game of cricket: if the locals win, the taxes will be ignored for three years, but if they lose, the taxes shall be doubled. While the British were experienced players, the Indian villagers did not know a thing about the game apart from the main lead, played by Aamir Khan. Since it was a Bollywood film, it had a dramatic but happy ending, where Indians won the nail-biting match on the last ball by hitting a massive SIX!
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)
Cricket is not just a sport in India, it is an emotion and there is one person in the cricket fraternity who brings the whole country with a population of over a billion together – MS Dhoni. After their maiden World Cup win in 1983, India had to wait for as long as 28 years to once again lift the coveted trophy and it was the Indian skipper who led from the front on the night of the final.
The movie takes you through Dhoni’s journey from his childhood, when he was more interested in football, to later becoming one of the greatest cricket captains in the world. Even though the film did not disclose a lot of controversial details of his career so far that the fans would have wanted to know, it is a must-watch if solely for Sushant Singh Rajput, who played Dhoni’s role. He certainly did a great job and ensured the fans had a fantastic time reminiscing some of Dhoni’s most memorable moments, including his winning six that won India the World Cup in front of a pumped-up home crowd at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on April 2, 2011. Even the songs of the film are pretty well-liked among the current generation, making the movie a hit in the blockbuster.
The Test: a new era of Australian team (2020)
The Cape Town ball-tampering incident was a black day in Australian cricket’s history that saw two of their best cricketers, Steven Smith and David Warner, choosing the wrong way to save the Test against South Africa. Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was allegedly ordered to tamper the ball, and was caught on the big screen executing the shameful plan. While the incident brought disgrace to the whole country, the three players faced stern consequences. Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban in comparison to Warner and Smith’s respective ban of one year.
Post the ‘sandpaper gate,’ Tim Paine was given the Test captaincy and Aaron Finch took over the limited-overs charge in a few weeks. Australia witnessed several lows in the coming months but their new coach, Justin Langer took his time to put the Aussies on the road to redemption. The Test, which is an eight-episode series, gives you a peek in their team meetings, dressing room conversations, intense one-to-one talks, inside jokes and other curious details since Langer’s appointment to Australia, against anyone’s expectations, retaining the Ashes in England in 2019. Even though it has received several critical comments, you must watch it, if you love cricket. There are a few moments in the show that will melt your heart and force you to fall in love with cricket all over again.
Inside Edge (2017)
Apart from emotions, cricket has also become a business in a cricket-loving country like India. Inside Edge, the Amazon Original series, vividly describes money, corruption and politics behind running the sport in India, through the Power Play League (PPL), a T20 league.
The story revolves around the Mumbai Mavericks owner Zarina Malik, the owner of the team. Her team is led by an ex-international cricketer Arvind Vashisht (in season 1) who despite not playing for his nation anymore is a very dedicated cricketer and someone with a sharp mind. The Mavericks also have an exciting and insanely talented player in Vayu Raghavan – a brash man, who often gets in trouble for his attitude, especially with Arvind, who is among the most disciplined players.
Vivek Oberoi who plays Vikrant Dhawan is a very powerful figure, who owns a sports management company and is close the aid of Bhaisaab (later revealed as the president of the Indian Cricket Board in season 2). The story takes a wild turn at the end of season two when the Mavericks’ coach Niranjan Suri is murdered by Dhawan as he does not agree to play a part in the ongoing fixing. Arvind is taken by shock and takes a break from the game only to return in season 2 as the captain of Haryana Hurricanes, owned by Manoharlal Handa, a rich businessman.
The dirty politics and the bureaucracy behind the game are well and truly exposed to the series. While cricket is between 22 players on the field, there is lot more that happens outside, which is what the series tries to convey, taking a cue from the already existing Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Roar of the Lion (2019)
The five-part web series documents the return of Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL after their 2-year suspension. The story highlights what the ban and return meant to Dhoni and his boys. It shows detailed conversations and interviews of popular players such as Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, and the captain himself, Dhoni. The fans will love the show, especially the ones who adore Dhoni, as it has well covered the passion with which CSK fans support the team and unconditionally love Dhoni, who is now more to be Chennai’s son rather than his own city of Ranchi.
In the spotlight: 83
The release of one of the most awaited cricket movies, ‘83’ has been delayed due to the pandemic corona-virus situation. The film, starring the real-life couple, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, will take you through India’s historical win in the 1983 World Cup with Singh portraying Indian’s World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev’s character. We are all waiting for the new release date!
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