• Saturday, March 02, 2024


Best Bollywood sports movies

Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De India

By: Manju Chandran



LIVE matches getting cancelled globally due to the coronavirus pandemic has left a massive void for sports fans and a big hole in TV schedules.

This has been made even bigger with the postponement of major sporting events like the Indian Premier League, Olympics, European Cup and Wimbledon. Add to that, forthcoming sports films such as ’83, Toofan and Jersey will also be delayed. Social distancing means that friends can’t even get together for friendly matches. The next best thing to make up for the thrilling competitive drama being removed from people’s lives is to watch a good sports-based movie.

With that in mind, Eastern Eye listed the top 20 Bollywood sports movies to cheer loudly for and where to find them.

20. Hawaa Hawaai: The triumphant tale revolves around an impoverished young boy’s journey towards becoming a champion skater and how a determined coach helps him along the way. The family friendly film has plenty of feel good moments and punches way above its weight division. Hotstar

19. Kai Po Che!: The multi-layered 2013 film is about friendship, but has sports as a key element and connecting thread between the protagonists. Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Rajkummar Rao star in the story of three firm friends, who see their respective paths go separates ways, with tragic consequences. Netflix

18. Saala Khadoos: The 2016 drama sees R Madhavan portray a boxing coach, whose life is spiralling downwards because of personal and professional problems. One day he encounters a feisty young girl (Ritika Singh) and spots a spark in her, which he thinks can be ignited into boxing glory. What follows is their journey as a boxer and coach, along with some unexpected obstacles. YouTube

17. Budhia Singh – Born to Run: The 2016 film won a National Award for Best Children’s Film. The biographical sports drama inspired by real events is based on the world’s youngest marathon runner, who ran an extraordinary 48 marathons, when he was only five years old. Manoj Bajpayee and Mayur Patole star in what may seem like an unbelievable story, but is actually true. Netflix

16. Saand Ki Aankh: The very unique film based on actual events is the remarkable story of two elderly women from rural India, who became champion sharp shooters. Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar are unrecognisable in the lead roles in a 2019 movie that has comedy, drama, emotions and guns. ZEE5

15. Soorma: Great sports biopics are based on extraordinary real events and this 2018 film about the astonishing life of Indian hockey great Sandeep Singh falls firmly into that category. Diljit Dosanjh takes on the demanding role of a hockey player, who rises up to greatness again after a freak accident leaves him paralysed. Netflix

14. Panga: Kangana Ranaut stars in the film about a talented kabbadi player who reluctantly gives up her career to become a housewife and how years later she goes against societal norms to pursue her international sporting dream. Like director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s previous films, there is an empowering message and it is perhaps the finest film on kabaddi ever made. Hotstar

13. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story: If like many you were waiting to see Mahendra Singh Dhoni play perhaps his final Indian Premier League then this film is the next best thing. Sushant Singh Rajput portrays the iconic Indian cricketer in an awardwinning biopic charting his journey from a simple beginning to winning the World Cup for his country. Eros Now, YouTube

12. Mary Kom: Popular star Priyanka Chopra plays the title role in the 2014 biopic of a champion Indian boxer, who rose up from humbling beginnings and punched her way to glory. One of the great boxing films made in India is loaded with girl power and has moments of high drama. Netflix

11. Mukkabaaz: The big hitting boxing drama is rooted in reality and packs a punch. The Anurag Kashyap directed action-drama revolves around a talented boxer caught between love and realising his sporting potential. Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain and Jimmy Shergill play the lead roles in a fight filled film. ZEE5, Eros Now

10. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander: The cult 1992 classic starring Aamir Khan revolves around a carefree youngster who must step up for a cycle race after his elder brother is injured. The coming of age movie also has plenty more going on, including young love, family drama and legendary song Pehla Nasha. ZEE5

9. Gold: The 2018 sporting drama based on real life events revolves around India winning their first Olympic gold medal after gaining independence in 1948 and what led them towards that monumental event. Akshay Kumar plays the patriotic hockey coach who battles against the odds and his own personal demons to put together a winning team, which marches towards glory in a remarkable chapter from history. Amazon Prime

8. Ferrari Ki Sawaari: Many people are either spending added time with family members during lockdown or missing them terribly. One of the finest father-son movies ever made in Hindi cinema, this 2012 comedy will make you laugh and weep happy tears. The story revolves around a father who will do anything to help his son get a cricket scholarship, including stealing Sachin Tendulkar’s Ferrari. Netflix

7. Sultan: The 2016 wrestling drama will delight fans of lead stars Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma. The story revolves around a champion wrestler, who rises to the very top, has a dramatic fall and makes a determined return many years later. The commercial movie is a mix of sports, emotion and romance. Amazon Prime

6. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: The multi-award winning 2013 drama based on real events charts the inspiring journey of legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, from escaping the horrors of partition to becoming a national hero. Farhan Akhtar plays the title role in a smash hit athletics movie that will get your pulses racing. Hotstar

5. Paan Singh Tomar: The true-life tale tells the story of an Indian soldier who won a gold medal as an athlete, but was forced by circumstances to turn into a dacoit. Acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan is outstanding in a movie that would win a number of honours, including a prestigious National Award for Best Feature Film and the hearts of audiences. Netflix

4. Iqbal: The stunning 2005 sports drama perhaps doesn’t get the credit it deserves and should be on every watch list. Shreyas Talpade plays the lead role in an inspiring story of an impoverished deaf and mute boy, who dreams of playing cricket for India. He is helped by a washed up ex-cricketer, portrayed wonderfully well by Naseeruddin Shah. ZEE5

3. Chak De India: Everyone is missing sports events and the best matches are ones when an underdog rises up against the odds. This 2007 film saw Shah Rukh Khan portray a coach who finds redemption by guiding a women’s hockey team to glory. By the end, you will be singing the anthem. Amazon Prime

2. Dangal: The highest grossing Bollywood film in history is an inspiring wrestling drama loaded with girl power, which is based on real life events. Aamir Khan plays a determined father who coaches his two daughters to sporting glory. The blockbuster hit is an uplifting underdog story that shows anything is possible and has a finale to remember. Netflix

1. Lagaan: The greatest Bollywood sports movie ever made will help ease the pain of cricket being cancelled. The 2001 Oscar nominated sports drama set in 1893 sees Aamir Khan play a simple man leading a bunch of villagers to learn cricket and take on British soldiers in a high-stakes match. This has all the tension of a sports match and an incredible finale. Netflix

Extra time

FOR those who want more or are not into Bollywood, there are plenty of other sporting options.

Inside Edge: The Amazon Prime series revolves around a cricket team and all the politics that happen behind the scenes.

Bend It Like Beckham: The iconic 2002 comedy-drama tells the story of a young British Asian girl, who dreams of playing football.

Death Of A Gentleman: The 2015 documentary details how certain countries have taken over cricket for financial gain, at the expense of other nations.

Million Dollar Arm: The 2014 Hollywood film starring Jon Hamm tells the true-life tale of two youngsters from India, who were plucked from obscurity by a sports agent and given baseball contracts in America.

Sachin: A Billion Dreams: The 2017 documentary charts the life of India’s greatest ever sportsman Sachin Tendulkar, from his childhood to becoming a global cricketing icon.

Main Hoon Shahid Afridi: The 2013 Pakistani sports film tells the story of a young boy, who dreams of becoming the next Shahid Afridi and all the sacrifices he makes to achieve his cricketing dream.

Roar Of The Lion: The 2019 documentary series follows the return of Indian Premier League team Chennai Super

Eastern Eye

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