Sachin Tendulkar A Billion Dreams—the Review

Sachin Tendulkar, it is conjectured frequently, is God. Like God, he is seldom heard, on issues of importance, or seen, at least in Rajya Sabha, and like God, when we really really  need him, he is busy answering someone else’s prayers, or at least so say those who claim that he could never perform in the really critical games of his career. It is thus to no one’s surprise that the documentary based on his life, Sachin a Billion Dreams, goes beyond being an uncritical eulogy, beyond being a hagiography, to become a religious film, a “Jai Santoshi Ma” of the times, with acted out sections featuring a cherubic boy doing naughty things, lot of Anjali, and even a Putna, played by The Chappell who feeds the Indian team poisoned milk from his sinister teats by demoting Sachin from his opening spot.  At the same time, what’s missing is the Ferrari, the ball tampering, the Monkey Gate, and the many valid arguments for his retiring a few years before he did.  Match-fixing is touched upon, but it comes and goes before you can say Aillaaa.

But that is only to be expected. Biographies in India are always backed by the person whose biography it is, which means they are never ever going to ask the tough questions, but at least this, being a documentary, spares us scenes like  that one in Azhar where his wife is getting turned on by watching Sangeeta Bijlani while Azhar, the absolutely innocent lamb that he is, sits hiding his face,  scandalized by the wanton dance moves. But even as far as non-controversial information goes, there is nothing here that you haven’t seen or heard before, especially if, like me, you have labored through Boria Majumdar’s Bore-kiya biography of Sachin, whose official title I think was “Cricinfo scoreboards transcribed in sentences”.

And yet, and yet, when the documentary finished, I found myself moist-eyed. It’s because Sachin Tendulkar, a Billion Dreams, is like an old song playing on the radio. It untangles the strands from the spaghetti ball of a forty-plus-man’s memories, and as the events tick by, like an action flicker, the debut, the Qadir, the England tour, the Pakistan game, the semi-final at Eden, Warne in the rough, Desert Storm, the dismemberment of Wasim and Akthar in that World Cup game, I am on an emotional roller-coaster and they all come back, the memories, of a younger and lighter me banging T-squares on the canteen table, or standing tiptoe in front of an electronic shop trying to catch a glimpse from the back, grainy TV sets, sweaty heat from bodies packed in tighter than is appropriate, shouting, swearing, putting hand on face, and agreeing with a man I have never met before that Nayan Mongia is a certified leora-choda.


Believing that one man can do it no matter what the heart tells me and no matter what the odds are, even when it is Sunil Joshi batting at the other end, a belief shared by a billion people, across every schism, across every division, of this most divided nation of ours.

And though I am cynical now, about most things and definitely about Sachin the person, and I come out of the theater thinking “How much did Sachin pocket from all this?”, for two hours, I was among the rank of the faithful, united in the joyous rising crescendo of “Sachin Sachin”, the Omkara of our times, wanting desperately, to once again, believe.

In the idea that was Sachin Tendulkar.









11 thoughts on “Sachin Tendulkar A Billion Dreams—the Review

  1. but happy that it was in the form of a documentary than a dhoni. Sachin has far more memories and the film was a good tribute.

  2. First. Sachin made to be greater than he actually is. WI Australia had lot of great players without all the hype

    1. You hit the nail on the head. I do not think he deserved the Bharat Ratna. His attendance in Ramya Sabbaths was almost nil. Why this kind of adulation for a man who was a good batsman. Period

  3. Not a Sachin fan anymore, but used to be one earlier. Thinking of indulging that part of myself after reading this review. The last couple paragraphs are such a clincher.

  4. I have to wonder if this film will appeal to the viewers of a certain vintage ( as you said..the 40 plus segment). One of my friends told me that he felt like a school kid again, and relived his life ( exams, college, placements, marriage..) while watching the film.
    Makes you realise how much Sachin has mattered to a generation of Indian Cricket Fans.

    Am looking forward to watching it on the big screen .

  5. Aaj i bhabchhilam onekdin greatbong post poda hoyeni.
    Have been planning to watch this movie with Sachin worshiping husband for a while now… Thanks for the review.
    Isn’t cashing in on the nostalgia the reason this film was made… An entire generation of people would be willing to pay up….

  6. Have you written this review or Saadat Hassan Manto? Ha ha Loved it

  7. I thought he might touch upon Dravid calling it an ‘Inning’ when he was just shy of his 200 in a test match, like he has gone on for three pages in his book

  8. almostgrownup June 2, 2017 — 2:45 pm

    Reminded me of your earlier essay – Sachin was us and we were Sachin. It captures exactly how I and I think our generation looked up to Sachin

  9. Is there any public hotline where distressed people can call when mob of 500 people comes and gheraoes police station and then starts banging doors en masse ?

  10. Dhoni’s bio was better and had better emotional connect, going by your review

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