In 2021, we will get many big budget sports dramas in Bollywood including ’83, Jersey, Maidaan and Toofan.
In anticipation of these exciting sports dramas, we recommend some of the best films of the genre in the recent past, from both Hollywood and Bollywood.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal in one of his career best performances, Southpaw is the story of second chances in life. A boxer hits rock-bottom in his personal life and career after an accident. The story actually starts with his journey to revive his lost career, and strengthen his bond with his daughter. The film is heartwarming and in places a little difficult to watch. However, it lingers on after it is over and you find yourself seeking inspiration from it unconsciously.
One of the most successful films to have come out of India, Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal–starring Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra–tells the real life story of Mahaveer Phogat and his two wrestler daughters Geeta and Babita. The film champions the cause of gender equality and shows how these women broke barriers to excel in their sport. A truly inspiring watch, Dangal is also listed among the top 50 sports films of the world by IMDb.
The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid franchise, along with the Kobra Kai series, has always boasted of rave reviews. However, we wanted to especially recommend the 2010 film starring Jackie Chan and Jaeden Smith. The Karate Kid reboot was a popular film for late millenials and early Gen Z kids as it often aired on TV channels. In fact, a lot of us have also watched the dubbed Hindi version of the film. However, keeping nostalgia aside, the film is a heartwarming story of being comfortable in his identity despite being bullied and racially discriminated.
Creed is both a spin-off and sequel to the classic Rocky franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. Creed stars Michael B Jordan as Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, who was Rocky’ friend and professional rival. The great thing about Creed is that it manages to shine on its own merit instead of thriving in the shadow of the Rocky series. It is written brilliantly, has amazing performances by Jordan and Stallone and is also shot beautifully. It has several layers to it, and has a unique touch to teacher-student relationship. The film will soon return with a sequel and will be directed by Jordan himself.
One of India’s most iconic sports movies that went on to get international acclaim, Lagaan by Ashutosh Gowariker is the film that almost everyone loves. Starring Aamir Khan and Gracy Singh, it’s a story about the fight for your basic rights and to be treated with dignity. The film is equal parts consequential and equal parts entertaining. The scenes in which the actual game of cricket takes place between the villagers and the British are imprinted in our brains. The film also does a brilliant job of incorporating music into storytelling, making it a memorable watch.
The late Chadwick Boseman shone in every role he picked. However, his role as Baseball legend Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film 42 is one of his most critically acclaimed performances. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. He was responsible for the end of segregation in Basketball. The film in itself benefits from a great storyline, brilliant execution and terrific performances. However, we can agree that the film’s existence plays a much bigger role than just telling a true story. It is the perfect amalgamation of two legends who will always be fondly remembered by people.