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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are happening in the neighbouring time zone and the sporting spirit no doubt has taken over Team India fans watching from home and showing their support online.
So we took it up to make a list of 10 Bollywood sports films (a top-tier genre) to watch, one for each day of the Olympic Games until they close on August 8.
From classic films to recent releases about athletes and coaches skating, sprinting, wrestling, boxing, hockey, badminton and cricket, we’ve included them all!
This fictional retelling of the true story behind how independent India won its first Olympic gold gets us feeling goosebumps every time. Our chest swells with pride as Tapan Das (played by Akshay Kumar) responsible for the management of the Indian hockey team undergoes many obstacles to prepare his team for a win at the Olympic Games against all odds.
The latest release of 2021 is a token of sheer persistence and determination by the former world no 1 in badminton: Saina Nehwal (Parineeti Chopra). Following the highs and lows of her career, this movie also pays a tribute to the people who contributed to her success and unhinged spirit. Staying true to the fact that “teamwork makes the dream work”. Champions are not born overnight, this film is proof that both physical fitness and mental clarity are winning characteristics of a victorious athlete.
This film pulls at our heartstrings as we unravel the journey of a young boy aspiring to achieve his cricket dreams despite being deaf and mute. The son of a farmer, Iqbal (Shreyas Talpade) seeks guidance ship from a retired coach after being rejected selection into the Indian cricket team due to his conditions.
4. M S Dhoni: The Untold Story
Right off the bat we can’t help but include this gem of a movie in our recommendations. The story of our beloved former captain of the Indian cricket team: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (portrayed by the late Sushant Singh Rajput) and his bittersweet journey from being a ticket collector to a trophy collector. An international sensation to say the least, but apart from paving his way into the cricket scene, this legend did encounter a heavy heartbreak along the way.
5. Saala Khadoos
This tale revolves around boxer Prabhu Selvaraj (Madhavan) who quits boxing due to an irreverent fallout with the authorities of the boxing association. He then channels his inner passion for the sport by coaching a fisherwoman in the hopes of accomplishing his wishful dreams through her.
Challenging societal oppression, former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (essayed to perfection by Aamir Khan) and his two wrestler daughters struggle towards glory at the Commonwealth Games to prove their worth in an otherwise male-dominated sport. It’s a film that will leave you wiping tears and full of confidence in the face of adversity.
7. Chak De India
Coach Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) takes on the impossible task of fulfilling his dream of making the Indian Women’s National Hockey Team win the World Cup. This is a feel-good underdog sports movie featuring women athletes from all over India overcoming sexism to compete and excel through blood sweat and tears. Definitely a must-watch since this masterpiece spotlights India’s hockey team and their championing supremacy in World sports.
8. Paan Singh Tomar
Based on the real-life story of Paan Singh Tomar (played by the late Irrfan Khan) who was a seven-time national steeplechase champion at the Indian National Games. Unfortunately, life took a grim turn when he was forced to become a dacoit since police investigations of his mother’s murder were left on a dead-end, taking things into his own hands seemed to be the most viable action. It’s a movie that extends an athlete’s character beyond the sports world and into the everyday struggles of humankind.
9. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
This skillfully crafted biopic was inspired by the legendary Indian track and field athlete: Milkha Singh (as Farhan Akhtar). A childhood scarred by the Indian-Pakistan partition, in this race of life he simply runs, breaking free from the shackles of his past trauma. Milkha progresses onto breaking numerous records but faces a heart breaking defeat at the Rome Olympics (1960). Taking it in his stride, overcoming this failure to emerge victoriously. This definitely gets viewers hearts racing just like the sport itself.
10. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
These must-watch movies are sure to make you reminisce the wins of our glorious Indian athletes in a range of sports, just as they continue to make us proud in the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020.
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