Live sporting action is something people crave for. However, when the same is properly woven into the script of a film, the audience can expect a spectacular viewing experience. In Hollywood, the trend of blending sports in movies has been in vogue for a long time, but in India, the norm has kicked in only recently, thanks to a spate of successful films. Some sports dramas have been immensely successful but this list will carry some popular and not-so-popular ones. However, all of them have a common link ie a riveting drama that tugs at your heartstrings.
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Seven exciting and thrilling sports dramas from native and foreign industries
Rocky (1976) Hollywood
Another Sylvester Stallone-starrer, which was directed by John G Avildsen, is an ultimate treat for cinephiles and boxing enthusiasts alike. The movie depicts the journey of a small-time club fighter, who gets an opportunity to make it count in the World Heavyweight Championship. Stallone was very convincing as a boxer who packs as well as absorbs a lot of punches, and Burgess Meredith as his trainer takes the graph of the movie skywards. The climax of the movie is sure to leave a lump in your throat and the success of this movie has created eight sequels, so far.
Raging Bull (1980) Hollywood
Whenever Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese have come together they have created something spectacular. This time around the actor-director duo chose boxing arena instead of mafia territory to spin a tale. In this story borrowed from the real life of an actual boxer Jake LaMotta, De Niro plays an Italian American middleweight boxer whose egoistic nature and toxic behavior ruins his personal and professional life. The film has De Niro delivering one of the effortless and heart-warming performances of his career, making a must-watch for all movie lovers.
Escape To Victory (1981) Hollywood
Heavily inspired by the Hungarian film Two Half Times in Hell, director John Huston’s thrilling drama has an ensemble cast of Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, and Brazilian football legend Pele as World War II prisoners of war, who want to utilise a football match against the Germans as a chance to escape. Will they succeed in their mission? One must watch the film to find out the same. Pele’s footballing skills coupled with the presence of Stallone and Cairns ensured that the movie endeared itself to even those who don’t follow the ‘beautiful game’.
Hip Hip Hurray (1984) Hindi
This was the first directorial venture of Prakash Jha, who later on graduated to making intense political dramas. The movie has football as a backdrop and it showcases how a determined sports teacher takes a perennially losing outfit to the height of glory. This lesser-known movie starred Raj Kiran, Dipti Naval and Shafi Inamdar in important roles. The best part about the movie was the screenplay by Gulzar, which had enough meat to keep the audience glued to their seats till the very end.
1983 (2014) Malayalam
This is not a costume drama, but about a talented cricketer who could not make it big, thanks to a conservative society that scoffs at such professions. The film is titled 1983 as it is the year in which Kapil’s Devils won the World Cup for India, and it portrays how the triumph made the youth of India go bonkers over cricket. The best thing about the movie was the lead actor, Nivin Pauly, who infused a lot of energy and enthusiasm into a role, that is anything but novel. The movie is also a social commentary as it dissuades society, at large, from looking down upon sporting activities and it ends with the protagonist finding a new opportunity to make his dreams come true. To find that out please watch the movie.
Jersey (2019) Telugu
The sports drama was directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri and it starred Nani and Shraddha Srinath. The movie was about the most popular sport in India, cricket, and it tracks the journey of an extremely gifted but unfortunate cricketer, who tries to make a comeback to the sport for the sake of his son. This movie managed to win the hearts of the audience due to the poignant portrayal by Nani of the travails faced by an aging player.
Bigil (2019) Tamil
The title in English means whistle and the sports drama is all about how a football coach helps a traumatic and helpless bunch of girls to lift the world championship. This movie was a collaboration between director Atlee and Superstar Vijay and it was more than the crowd-pleaser the duo had given in the past. Vijay was excellent in the dual role of a football coach and a local don. Unlike the no-brainers the actor is famous for, Bigil highlights the corrupt activities in sporting bodies and the problems women face if they take an unconventional path in a patriarchal society. The music by the Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman further elevates the proceedings in this high-voltage sporting saga.