Bollywood has seen an increase in sports movies inspired by the country’s athletes. Actors are carefully chosen for these movies because they undergo an intense physical training regimen, dietary restrictions and displaying a stellar performance. Here are some of the best sports movies available on online streaming platforms -- Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar.
Chak De! India, 2007 (Prime Video)
Chak De India
Directed by Shimit Amin, Chak De! India is one of the classic Indian sports movies where Shah Rukh Khan essayed the role of women’s hockey team captain which is loosely based on hockey player Mir Ranjan Negi. With a cast of 16 actresses from various states, the movie was screened on August 17, 2016 as part of Independence Day Film Festival, commemorating India’s 70th year of Independence and boasts several awards. The movie follows the story of a ragtag gang of hockey players who later represent India in the hockey big leagues.
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, 2016 (Hotstar)
M.S. Dhoni - The Untold Story
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a beloved name by all Indian cricket fans. Released in 2016, Sushant Singh Rajput played Dhoni in the biopic which focused on his initial struggles as a boy from Ranchi to becoming one of the biggest names in Indian cricket history. It was directed by Neeraj Pandey and was received very positive by critics and fans alike. The movie also had a surprise cameo at the end by M.S. Dhoni himself.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, (2013) (Hotstar)
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a movie based on Milkha Singh, the runner who scored numerous gold medals for India in many events all over the world and was titled as the ‘Flying Sikh’. Farhan Akhtar portrays the athlete’s troubled childhood, his struggles as an athlete and the how Milkha Singh set the Indian national record for almost 40 years when he placed fourth for in the 400m sprint timed at 45.73 seconds. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, it received critical acclaim in India and overseas.
Paan Singh Tomar, 2012 (Netflix)
Paan Singh Tomar
Portrayed by Irrfan Khan, Paan Singh Tomar is based on a true story of an athlete who goes by the same name. Subedar Paan Singh Tomar was an Indian athlete who was serving in the Indian army and dominated national Steeplechase for 7 years. The film documents his premature retirement from the army, dispute over land and later life as a rebel. The movie was well received by critics as director Tigmanshu Dhulia spent a significant amount of time in Chambal learning about Tomar and his background which would have been unknown otherwise.
Dangal, 2016 (Netflix)
The infamous time-lapse video where Aamir Khan made an unbelievable body transformation for performing the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat was the talk among everyone when Dangal was released. A biopic loosely based on Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur Indian wrestler who coached his daughters for achieving India’s Olympic dream in wrestling, it was received very well by critics and moviegoers. It showcased the challenges he faced in order to eradicate the stigma that women are just as capable as men, drawn from the athlete’s real life struggles when he trained his daughters in wrestling despite opposition from the community.
These movies are worth watching for movie buffs and sports fans alike because it showcases the struggles that some of India’s top athletes went through initially and possibly during competition. It shows their background and what goes towards making an Olympian.