8 cricket-based movies to watch if you're missing IPL season
You might not be able to watch the IPL this time, but Bollywood's cricket line-up can make for a good replacement. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and more, here's the lowdown on where you can begin your cricket binge.
If things had been normal in this cricket-crazed nation at this time of year, we would have all been cooped up inside our homes watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) on our television screens. The year 2020 though, had other plans for us. We are definitely homebound, but the sports extravaganza is a distant dream. What we do have, on the other hand, is cinema. Hindi films have celebrated cricket in all its glory through the years. Whether used as a setting for a rom-com, or to narrate the journey of a cricketer himself, the sport has consistently ruled the silver screen. Get ready to cheer for India once more with these cricket-based movies.
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) streaming on Disney + Hotstar
The tale of the former captain of the Indian cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was brought alive on celluloid by Sushant Singh Rajput in this biographical drama. Captain Cool’s personal journey from being a young boy obsessed with the game, to leading the national team to a World Cup victory in 2011, is depicted with an impassioned approach by director Neeraj Pandey.
Azhar (2016) streaming on Netflix
The life of the Indian cricketer and former national team captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, was riddled with controversies — from an extra-marital affair to allegations of match-fixing. Emraan Hashmi, who portrayed his fall from grace, and rise from the ashes, delivered a knockout film with his performance. While the movie did receive some criticism for glossing over some of the greyer areas of the cricketer’s life, it, nonetheless, made for an engaging watch.
Lagaan (2001) streaming on Netflix
The mother of all cricket films in India, Ashutosh Gowariker's magnum opus Lagaan was India’s official entry to the 2002 Oscars. While it lost the award to the Bosnian film No Man’s Land, back home, it won multiple awards and many hearts. The Aamir Khan-starrer set in the Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj, centred around a group of villagers who must defeat the British in a game of cricket in order to avoid paying triple the tax. Thoroughly entertaining, with some stunning locales and songs, Lagaan remains a masterpiece even after 19 years.
Iqbal (2005) streaming on ZEE5
The sport may be a dominant factor in this Nagesh Kukunoor film, but Iqbal really is about achieving your dreams in the face of odds. A cricket-obsessed, hearing and speech-impaired boy’s journey that concludes with him becoming a part of the Indian national cricket team, is a heart-warming underdog tale. A cameo by none other than Kapil Dev himself is the icing on the cake.
Patiala House (2011) streaming on Netflix
There are plenty of reasons to watch this movie — it features an Indian wedding in London, a great deal of music and dance and, of course, cricket. The Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma-starrer may be predictable at times, but it has its share of valiant performances by the cast, and an entertaining plot.
Kai Po Che! (2013) streaming on Netflix
While the title is a phrase borrowed from kite-flying competitions, the three protagonists in the film dream of opening a cricket training academy. Set against the backdrop of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and Godhra train burning, Sushant Singh Rajput’s debut film was also about deep friendships and human triumph. There is something very likeable about this critically-acclaimed movie based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, The 3 Mistakes of My Life.
Dil Bole Hadippa (2009) streaming on Amazon Prime Video
A light-hearted tale of a young woman who wishes to be a part of an all-male cricket team, Dil Bole Hadippa counts as feel-good cinema. While it wasn't widely acclaimed critically, the movie was a box-office hit nonetheless. It has been adapted from the 2006 American film, She's the Man, and appreciated for Rani Mukerji’s spirited performance.
The Zoya Factor (2019) streaming on Netflix
For a film that calls itself The Zoya Factor, it’s actually the Dulquer Salmaan factor that has really worked for the rom-com that features the sport as the backdrop. An adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel with the same name, the film uses the love for cricket in India to comment on superstition and the concept of luck in our society. The two-hour fifteen-minute feature makes for a light, frothy watch perfect for a weekend night.