What a strange thing...Cricket is the only popular game in the whole world, whose passion is seen in people of every age, every class, every caste and every religion. Bets worth billions of rupees are made at every cricket match. Lakhs of people like to buy tickets worth several thousand rupees and go to the cricket ground to watch cricket matches. People leave all their work and turn to the TV or mobile to watch cricket matches. But whenever a film is made on cricket or there are cricket scenes in any film, then that film fails miserably. The interesting thing is that in 2010, filmmaker Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan made the film "Lahore" on the story of a successful cricketer Virendra Singh who left cricket and became a wrestler out of a feeling of revenge and defeated Pakistan on Pakistan's own ground, So, it was a tremendous success. Not only this, films based on wrestling/boxing, be it 'Dangal' or 'Sultan', also registered tremendous success. Whereas wrestling/boxing is not a popular sport. Then why don't audiences like films that talk about the very popular sport cricket? This is a very big and important question... However, the films 'Lagaan' and 'MS Dhoni: Untold Story' are exceptions.
See the reason for the success of the film 'Lagaan' with cricket scenes, cinema is such an audio-visual medium, where the viewer wants entertainment and thrill along with the story. Till now the films made on wrestling/boxing have had good stories. Apart from this, the thrill of the game of boxing has been touching the hearts of the spectators. But it is sorely lacking in cricket-based films. Aamir Khan's film "Lagaan" was released in 2001. This film had a cricket match with a great story. The story was constructed in such a way that every person was not only immersed in the cinematic cricket, but their heart skipped a beat with every run scored or player being dismissed. This was not just a marvel of the game of cricket, but also a marvel of the fabric of the story. In 'Lagaan', the people of Bhuvan's village, which is suffering from drought, want the British government to waive off their Lagaan/tax. The story goes on in such a way that not only in the mind of Bhuvan or the people of his village but also in the mind of the viewer, a feeling arises that the tax should be waived off. The British government officials put forward a condition that if the village people defeat their cricket team on the cricket field, then they will waive the tax. Bhuvan accepts this challenge, even though not a single person in the village, including Bhuvan, knows anything about cricket. These people saw the British playing cricket for the first time in their village and this challenge came to their head. But how the village people prepare themselves to play cricket and then the kind of excitement that is created on the cricket field, every person/spectator gets connected with it. As a result, the film made a record of success. The center of the story of 'Lagaan' is the game of cricket and its thrill.
MS Dhoni: Untold Story: Reason for success
Fifteen years after the release of 'Lagaan', a completely cricket-based film "MS Dhoni: Untold Story" was released on 30 September 2016, which was produced by cricketer MS Dhoni's manager Arun Pandey in association with Fox Star Studios. In the days when this film was made, MS Dhoni was not only a famous cricketer, but he was also an inspirational person among children and the young generation. Actually, the discussion of making MS Dhoni's biopic film had started with the 2011 World Cricket Cup final. But one day when Dhoni was at an airport, a child came to him and asked him a question on motivation. Dhoni sat with the young boy and spent 5 minutes answering the questions. Seeing this, MS Dhoni's manager Arun Pandey asked him why he spent so much time with that child? Dhoni then replied that his answer was important in benefiting and motivating the boy. This incident inspired Arun Pandey to make a film about him. Arun Pandey told Dhoni that his story has the power to inspire millions of children like him. And an inspiring full length feature film should be made on his story. Dhoni was not convinced at first. But after being convinced by his colleagues, Dhoni gave permission and said - "Don't portray me in a wrong way in the film." Show me as I am.'' Yes! Some cinematic liberties were taken in MS Dhoni's biopic 'MS Dhoni: Untold Story', but the film was largely realistic, due to which the film, made for Rs 104 crore, earned Rs 216 crore at the box office.
The cricket matches in this film do not appear caricatured or artificial. Not only this, actor Sushant Singh Rajput had worked hard to play the character of Dhoni. Dhoni himself taught him cricket and he was also present on the sets during the shooting. The film was not made to show MS Dhoni clean. His personal life is truly a source of inspiration for many. Therefore, this film registered success. Whereas even before that, on May 16, 2016, the biopic of cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, made at a cost of Rs 350 crore, 'Azhar' did not perform well in the theatre.
Reasons for the failure of the film ‘Azhar’:
The main reason for the failure of the film 'Azhar' was that the film was made with wrong intentions. By the time this film was made, every cricket lover was disillusioned with Mohd. Azharuddin. He was accused of match-fixing. Because his name is that of London-based bookie M.K. Paired with Sharma alias Shaan. The Indian Cricket Board banned him for life. Azhar had decided to challenge the ban in court with the help of his lawyer friend Mitra Reddy. Due to this allegation, every cricket lover was angry with him. In such a situation it is said that, Mohd. Azharuddin himself got this biopic film to prove himself clean and improve his image. When the purpose of the film was something else, then naturally the film was less realistic and more dramatic. Secondly, the budget for this film was three times that of MS Dhoni's biopic. Whatever cricket matches were shown in this film could not attract people. There was no excitement in these matches. Every scene looked artificial; it seemed as if Azharuddin was being glorified. On top of that, Emraan Hashmi was not fitting into the role of Azharuddin.
Reason for the failure of cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan's biopic film "800"
The basic reason for the failure of cricket-based films has been that every filmmaker has always tried to prove the game of cricket and its players as great, ignoring the basic need of cinema, and entertainment. Recently, the biopic film “800” of famous Tamil filmmaker, Sri Lankan off-spinner bowler and former captain of the cricket team Muttiah Muralitharan was released. This film made in Tamil language was also released dubbed in Hindi. The story of the film ranges from the eighties, when Sri Lanka was struggling with civil war, to Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement from cricket after taking 800 wickets. The film specifically highlights how difficult it was for Tamilian Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan to play cricket for his country Sri Lanka despite his talent.
When the film was announced, the role of Muttiah Muralitharan was being played by South Indian actor Vijay Sethupathi, but he later distanced himself from the film. At that time, it was said that Vijay Sethupathi's fans had attacked his house and asked him not to be a part of this film. But after watching this film, it was understood that Vijay Sethupathi had distanced himself from this bad film. Not only this, but at that time the political parties of Tamil Nadu had also raised their voice against the production of the film, but the producer and director had assured that along with the story of Muralitharan, this film would also tell the untold story of the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka, who are often ignored. They have to face discrimination from other Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese in the country. In the film, Muralitharan, while answering the questions of journalists, is seen calling himself a cricketer rather than a Tamil or Sinhalese. But he never hid his identity of being 'Tamil'. This film also only glorifies Muttiah Muralitharan. The biggest weak link of this film is its script. The entire script is scattered. While watching the film, one realizes that the focus of the writer and director is not fixed. As a result, it is unable to keep the audience engaged. In the film, some of the famous matches played by Muralitharan are recreated and the filmmakers could not do justice to such scenes.
I wish they had bought the rights to the original scenes of such cricket matches and incorporated them into this film. Due to this lack, not only the cinema viewers but also the cricket fans do not get anything from this film. The cinematography of the film is very bad. The scenes shot on Chroma have failed to make an impact. Not only this, the cricket matches played by Muralitharan against the Indian cricket team have been ignored. Watching the film, one realizes that the filmmaker's entire aim has been to present Muralitharan as a good-hearted and excellent human being. Many incidents were deliberately not kept in the film. For example, in a tournament, Sri Lanka had bowled out the entire Indian team for just 54 runs and Muralitharan played an important role in this, taking five wickets. The filmmaker made an unsuccessful attempt to glorify Muttiah Muralitharan by portraying the chucking controversy in too much detail. This thing irritates cinema and cricket lovers. This film is just a way for Murali Dharan to clean up his back and sing praises of God, that is why the audience stayed away from this film. On top of that, actor Madhur Mittal's acting and dialogue delivery in the role of Muralitharan is quite messed up. Not only this, Madhwar Mittal was not seen bowling like Muttiah Muralitharan in even a single scene. So, cricket-based films do not register success due to wrong intentions and not selecting an actor who does not match the cricketer.
- Shantiswarup Tripathi