Thank you Sachin for a Billion Dreams
Dear Sachin Tendulkar,
At the outset, I must congratulate you for your movie ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’. The movie or your entire career was indeed about a billion dreams. It was never just about you. Yes, you were the central character in the movie as you were in real life; but your success or failure had a huge impact on billion other Indians.
For a fan like me, your movie was a flashback of my life’s last twenty years or so. I started following your career somewhere around the 1996 Wills World Cup. And your movie brought back the good and the bad memories of the last two decades.
For instance, I was reminded how dejected I had become after the 1996 World Cup semi-finals loss or how excited I was when you had lifted the Titan Cup at Wankhede. While you took away the Titan Cup, I took a newspaper cutting of your picture with the trophy and installed it on my cupboard.
A clipping was shown in the movie when Allan Donald got the better of you with a beauty of a delivery and the debate which I had with my friends twenty years back flashed in front of my eyes. They were of the opinion that you were not good enough to handle Donald and as always I was trying to reason out your dismissal.
It is rightly said in the movie that an injury to you was a lesson on human anatomy for us. You taught us more about our bones & muscles than our biology teacher could have ever done. So when the movie showed instances of your various injuries, I recalled how we as kids used to even imitate your injuries. In those google-less days, I sometimes used to wonder why a cricketer got an injury like tennis elbow.
Then when you gave up captaincy, none of the kids in our colony wanted to be a captain. Invariably the best player in the team used to refuse captaincy, not because he wanted to concentrate on batting; but because he was just trying to follow your footsteps.
When the bomb of match-fixing dropped on cricket, I prayed that your name shouldn’t come up in the scandal and my prayers were answered. Yes, like you said we were all dejected; but deep inside we were relieved that you were not part of the scandal.
The fact that we moved on had much to do with your clean image than anything else. There were your other dedicated teammates like Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag & Javagal Srinath to name a few who helped us in the process. But it would not have been possible without you.
Cricket was once again back at the centre stage. The six that you hit of Andrew Caddick in the 2003 World Cup broke many a window panes in our society as everyone wanted to try that hook shot. So, when I saw that great shot again in the movie; I smiled as I could see the angry faces of people whose house window panes we had broken.
Our madness in following you did not stop just at trying to copy your batting style. When you switched from medium pace to off-spin bowling, thousands of kids also made that switch. The day you bowled off-spin we were off-spinners and when you were bowling that googly, we thought ourselves to be leg-spinners.
Slowly as your career moved ahead, we became grown-ups. So, we realised that one day your career will come to an end. It was hard to believe for us that how can a person who had a broken nose said, “Main khelega” (I will play).
Similarly, while watching your movie; I wanted it to go on forever. But as the scene which showed the 2011 World Cup trophy was flashed, I knew the end was near. And I became sad because I would again have to watch you retire.
I was present that day in Wankhede when you delivered that famous retirement speech and I was here again at the theatre watching you walk us through our childhood.
Now, there will be people who will criticise your movie. Some would say that nothing exceptional came out from the movie or the movie did not tell us anything which we didn’t know beforehand about you. Your detractors will tell that you did not touch base on the controversial things in your career.
And like always, your fans like me will fight them out; much like we used to argue with them with your batting statistics at our fingertips. We will justify it stating that the movie was never about you, but it was about our journey. Anyone who has enjoyed this journey will definitely enjoy the movie.
In the end, I will just say thank you for bringing back those wonderful memories; those days when cricket was indeed a religion for people like us.