India's Mission Olympics

The Role of Biopics of Sports Legends

12 JUNE 2017,
Olympic Moment
Olympic Moment

As the new millennium kicked-in about 17 years back, it ushered in lots of things unheard before in our generation (my generation). I will not be surprised if after some time you start hearing the words like new-era and old-era referring to pre-millennium and post-millennium periods. To a certain extent, the trend has already started in a veiled manner. The generation that has hit the job market in the new-era is being referred to as millennials. Rightly so, certain traits have already been identified and tagged with this generation. Companies and organizations are already putting in their people and human resource strategies considering this millennial generation.

One trait that can be clearly tagged with this generation is that it is a generation which is "On-the-Go". With the streaming internet access in hands, this generation believes in doing the things on the go. For example, the generation believes trainings are supposed to be done not gone to somewhere. When I started my career, all the corporate trainings used to be classroom-based which we would go to whereas in the new-era no training strategy can exclude the online trainings as the millennial generation believes in doing the training online rather than going to a class room. This gets reflected in the success of various MOOC platforms that have arrived on the scene during last decade.

There are many such examples. Even the Bollywood has not remained unaffected by this millennial generation. If you look at the cult of movies that have been made in the recent past and are being made in this new era, reflects and captures the emerging trend. While the movies in the old-era mostly reflected the social trends, the current trend reflects the movies on contemporary topics, off-beat themes and the living legends. The millennials with access to internet are exposed to global cinema much more than the earlier generation was and consuming movies more than it ever has been. This makes them look for idols and heroes and expect more from celluloid stories than the typical stereotypical themes.

This has led to a cult that has started unfolding around the movies on sports arena catering to the millennials. The initial trend started with movies like Lagaan, Chak De India, Goal, Iqbal, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and few more which chronicled stories surrounding sports themes. This trend seems to be coming of age during last couple of years with the bio-pics of our contemporary sports legends being made which have been well received by the audience across the age bands. Last 5 years have given us six such movies with three movies coming in last one year. As a nation we indeed are exploring and looking around for success stories.

Pan Singh Tomar (2012), directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, Bhag Milkha Bhag (2013), directed by Rakeyesh Omprakash Mehra, Mary Kom (2014), directed by Omung Kumar, MS Dhoni (2016), directed by Neeraj Pandey, Dangal (2016),directed by Nitesh Tiwari, Sachin (2017), directed by James Erskine.

These movies have brought out the back-stories which we are rarely aware of but would always be curious to know about. These stories include the struggle these players had to go through during their coming up years and the hard work they have put in during the course of their journey towards success. These stories have the power of becoming big motivators for the younger generations and provide huge source of inspirations. I must say that these movies indeed did justice with the theme and the players whose stories were being captured. Last but not the least, they also throw some light and directions for parents as to how we can contribute and support the budding sports stars at our homes

Indeed, these movies have left us craving for more. I would like to see more bio-pics about our sports stars. They are the living legends of our times, sports-ambassadors and an inspiration to the whole generation. They have been the pioneers in the game in such a way that they brought glory to the country at the time when there were very few success stories. To name a few…

  1. Sushil Kumar - Wrestling
  2. Sania Mirza - Tennis
  3. Prakash Padukone - Badminton
  4. Leander Paes - Lawn Tennis
  5. PV Sindhu - Badminton
  6. Major Dhyan Chand - Hockey
  7. Vishwanathan Anand - Chess
  8. Abhinav Bindra - Shooting
  9. Saina Nehwal - Badminton
  10. Vijender Singh - Boxing

As I have listed only few names here, this does not mean that we do not have other legends. There are uncountable many more legendary players who brought laurels to the country as well as given joy to the nation over the years. This has given us reasons to celebrate. Their success not only popularized their games but also motivated the whole new generation to follow on their footsteps.

My recommendation

• The respective sports federations, Indian Olympic Association and other sports bodies can work alongside National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) by providing funding to make movies on such success stories.
• The authorities can pick up the list of players on whom they would want to make the movies. I have given a name of few of the players above but there are many more.
• It shall be ensured that these movies do not end up just being documentaries. The movies shall be independently made by established directors or movie houses so that movie retains the soul of a movie.
• All this apart, the Directorate of Film Festivals and other organizations like Filmfare, Zee, Screen, etc which are involved in promoting Indian Cinema shall explore organizing Sports Film Festivals regularly.
• These movies shall be taken to our schools so that each and every child in the impressionable age sees them.

I strongly feel this investment will go a long way towards playing a role of a powerful catalyst in fulfilling our dream around Mission Olympics.