Cricket and Bollywood are undoubtedly the biggest forms of entertainment in India and when they are clubbed together, it is bound to be a blockbuster.
Since India won its maiden cricket World Cup in 1983, filmmakers have not missed an opportunity to make cricket movies to entertain the masses of a cricket-crazy nation.
The first cricket movie in Bollywood was released in 1959, which was directed by Subodh Mukherjee. Titled ‘Love Marriage’, the film featured Dev Anand and Mala Sinha in lead roles.
Here are some of the cricket movies made in Bollywood that every cricket fan should watch.
Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and starring Aamir Khan in the lead role, Lagaan is one of the most iconic movies ever made in Hindi cinema. Set in the Victorian period of British Rule, the critically acclaimed film combines cricket with drama and nationalism. The story revolves around a small village in India where the locals were burdened by high taxes with an arrogant British army officer challenging them to a game of cricket. Released in 2001, Lagaan became the third Indian film to be nominated for Oscars after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988).
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)
Released in 2016, the film is based on the life of former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The cricket-based movie was released across nearly 4,500 screens in 62 countries, making it the widest release ever for a Bollywood film. The MS Dhoni biopic featured Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead role, who later went on to commit suicide in 2020, creating a massive controversy in India. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, the film received positive reviews from critics. However, it was also criticised for omitting certain aspects of MS Dhoni's life including the spot-fixing scandal in the Indian T20 League.
With Shreyas Talpade as the lead and directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, this cricket film is about a deaf and mute boy from a remote village in India who aims to become a fast bowler and fulfil his dream of playing for the Indian cricket team. The film also features Naseeruddin Shah, who plays the role of a coach, assisting Iqbal (Shreyas Talpade) in his journey. The coming-of-age sports drama film won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues in 2005.
Patiala House (2011)
Released in 2011, this sports drama film featured a string of international cricketers including Shaun Tait, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Keiron Pollard, Nasser Hussain and Sanjay Manjrekar. The story of this cricket movie revolves around a young British Indian, played by Akshay Kumar, whose passion for cricket falls into conflict with his father's dream. Directed by Nikkhil Advani, the film also casts Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Anushka Sharma in lead roles. The film received mixed reviews.
The latest entrant to the list is a biopic that is inspired by the life of former India national team captain Mohammad Azharuddin. The film, in which Emraan Hashmi plays Azhar, was criticised for its fictionalised interpretation of events. The Tony D’Souza-directed film was, however, a moderate success at the box office as it collected ₹568 million gross against the budget of ₹350 million.
Complete list of cricket movies in Bollywood (Hindi)
Movie, year released and cast
Love Marriage (1959), Dev Anand, Mala Sinha
All Rounder (1984), Kumar Gaurav, Rati Agnihotri
Awwal Number (1990), Dev Anand, Aamir Khan, Aditya Pancholi
Lagaan (2001), Aamir Khan
Stumped (2003) Alyy Khan, Raveena Tandon
Iqbal (2005), Shreyas Talpade
Say Salaam India (2007) Sanjay Suri, Milind Soman, Sandya Mridul
Hattrick (2007) Rimi Sen, Kunal Kapoor
Chain Kulii ki Main Kulii (2007) Rahul Bose, Zain Khan
Meerabai Not Out (2008) Mandira Bedi, Mahesh Manjrekar
Jannat (2008) Emraan Hashmi, Sonal Chauhan
Victory (2009) Harman Baweja, Amrita Rao
Dil Bole Hadippa! (2009) Rani Mukerji, Shahid Kapoor
World Cupp 2011 (2009) Ravi Kapoor, Manesha Chatarji
Patiala House (2011), Akshay Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Anushka Sharma
Ferrari ki Sawari (2012) Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani
Azhar (2016), Emraan Hashmi
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016), Sushant Singh Rajput
The Zoya Factor (2019) Dulquer Salmaan, Sonam K Ahuja
With the Hindi remake of the 2019 Telugu film ‘Jersey’ , the Mithali Raj biopic and 83, with Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev, already in the pipeline, cricket fans and film lovers have a lot to look forward to.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter/ Aamir Khan Productions