INSPIRING Indian film Kaun Pravin Tambe premiered on streaming site Hotstar on April 1 and tells the real-life story of a cricketer who realised his sporting dream late in life.
This will be followed by big-budget Bollywood drama Jersey, which is a remake of a 2019 Telugu language film of the same name and due in cinemas on April 14. The sports drama starring Shahid Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur and Pankaj Kapur revolves around a down-on-his-luck man who reignites his dream to play cricket after making a promise to his son. Eastern Eye prepared a watchlist of 12 top Indian films with a cricketing theme, listed in chronological order.
Lagaan (2001): The greatest Bollywood sports movie sees Aamir Khan play a simple man leading villagers to learn cricket and take on British soldiers in a high-stakes match. The Oscar-nominated period film has all the drama and tension of a sports match, including a great finale.
Iqbal (2005): The stunning sports drama sees Shreyas Talpade play an impoverished deaf and mute boy, who dreams of playing cricket for India. The inspiring story sees him being helped by a washed-up ex-cricketer and his sister.
Chennai 600028 (2007): The Tamil language sports comedy was a sleeper super hit when it released and spawned a successful 2016 sequel, along with a host of remakes. The story of street cricket looks at themes of friendship and rivalry, set to the backdrop of an important tournament.
Jannat (2008): There is no doubt that cricket is a beautiful game, but this crime-drama looks at the ugly side of the sport and revolves around illegal match-fixing. Emraan Hashmi plays the ambitious young man who gets in way over his head and sees his life spiral out of control.
99 (2009): This low-budget crime caper perhaps didn’t get the attention it deserved when it released. The 1999-set comedy with a cricketing backdrop revolves around two small-time crooks getting on the wrong side of a bookie and this triggering a series of unexpected events.
Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012): The best comedy revolving around cricket is this fantastic father-son movie filled with laughter and plenty of emotion. Sharman Joshi plays a devoted father who will do anything to help his son get a cricket scholarship, including stealing Sachin Tendulkar’s Ferrari.
Kai Po Che! (2013): The multi-layered film about friendship, has cricket as a key element and connecting thread between the protagonists. Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Rajkummar Rao play three firm friends who see their respective paths go separates ways, with tragic consequences.
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016): Perhaps the finest cricket biopic ever made sees Sushant Singh Rajput portray iconic wicketkeeper/batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The award-winning film charts his journey from a simple beginning to winning the world cup for his country.
Kanaa (2018): The Tamil language sports drama sees Aishwarya Rajesh play the daughter of a farmer who aspires to become an international cricketer. The inspiring film charts her journey from having an impossible dream to turning it into a reality. The actress would reprise her role for the equally affecting Telugu remake Kousalya Krishnamurthy (2019).
Majili (2019): The Telugu language romantic sports drama starring Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Ruth Prabhu is based on dance-led film Sagara Sangamam (1983) but uses cricket as the central theme. It revolves around an aspiring cricketer who gives up after having his heart broken and getting a second chance when helping a young girl to realise her cricketing dream.
The Zoya Factor (2019): The romantic comedy based on the 2008 novel of the same name has plenty of entertaining moments. The story revolves around an Indian cricket captain, played by Dulquer Salmaan, and an unlucky advertising executive (Sonam Kapoor), who inadvertently becomes a good luck charm for the national team.
83’ (2021): The acclaimed film sees Ranveer Singh portray legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev and revolves around India’s history-making win in the 1983 cricket world cup. The patriotic drama about overcoming the odds captures an iconic moment in time.
Cricket documentaries with an Indian connection:
Beyond All Boundaries (2013): Kunal Nayyar narrated film about three very different Indians with a strong connection to cricket.
Death Of A Gentleman (2015): Documentary detailing how certain countries have taken over cricket for financial gain, at the expense of other nations.
Sachin: A Billion Dreams (2017): Film charting the inspiring rise of India’s greatest ever sportsman Sachin Tendulkar, from his childhood to becoming a global cricketing icon.
Roar Of The Lion (2019): Documentary series following the return of Indian Premier League team Chennai Super Kings after a two-year ban.