All of a sudden after years and years of no biopics, they have become a plague on the Hindi industry in the past few years, especially sports biopics. So I am going to list out all the ones I can remember and describe their main themes, and we can decide which is the best one! Or at least, which you think is most interesting. And this will prepare us for the upcoming sea of more sports movies.
Stars Farhan Akhtar, and directed by Om Prakash Mehra, this one focuses on training and trauma and how they intersect. It’s less about the medals and the success and more about the internal journey that drives the hero to success. The culmination isn’t a race that is won, it is an emotional break down in grief that was long delayed.
An Aamir Khan original, but he chooses to play the coach instead of the athlete. Which gives the film a focus on the long journey to success, all the obstacles that have to be overcome or avoided in order to succeed, and the support system behind the athletes.
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story
Sushant Singh Rajput’s last successful film, directed by Neeraj Panday who usually does process thrillers. A story of a career journey, honing skills and taking job after job and waiting for that big break and having faith that you will be ready when it comes. Plus a couple romances along the way. And many hair changes.
Diljit Dosanjh’s biggest role so far in Hindi film, directed by Shaad Ali who has over a decade of experience mostly in rom-coms. A story you wouldn’t believe except you know it is real. And this time, it is about a family and how the success of one is a tribute to the support of the others. Family is present in all the movies, but only in this film is family there when all seems lost, when everyone else has turned away, when country and sport and love no longer matter.
Akshay Kumar plays the lead, but it’s really an ensemble film. And Reema Kagti directs, a completely different film from her previous except that they also were ensemble pieces. The only “team” version of a sports biopic on this list. It’s India itself that is the star here, with 5 leads all from different backgrounds and places who come together to form a team. The theme is unity from diversity and learning to work together.
Emraan Hashmi, turned hideous by make-up, plays the lead. Directed by Anthony D’Souza who had done a couple of slick mass movies before, nothing special. The theme here is acceptance, appreciating talent and ignoring the personal. The focus is not on the actual sports moments, but on the scandals and law suits surrounding the player. Also, this is a very bad movie. The only truly terrible one on the list, which is a sign of how sports biopics have arrived, they are popular enough now to inspire bad imitations of good films.
Paan Singh Tomar
Irrfan Khan’s sports film, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia who came up through the Anurag Kashyap mentorship, starting as a writer. This movie I have not actually seen. But it is too important not to include. A film that looks at the tragedy of the forgotten athlete, a brilliant runner who left the army to go back to his family and got caught up in a local feud and local banditry because he had no other options. It’s about missed opportunities and forgotten glory.
Priyanka Chopra’s sports biopic, based on India’s female Olympic Gold winner, directed by Omung Kumar who is primarily a set designer. Again, I haven’t seen it. And again, too important not to include. A rags to riches, surviving tragedy and finding triumph, kind of movie. A tearjerker with a triumphal ending.