mid-day editorial: Bollywood is playing a sporting game

Published: Dec 23, 2016, 06:11 IST | mid-day correspondent

As we roll into the Christmas weekend, Santa Claus has dropped a gift into the movie lovers' stocking — the first reviews of Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal are here and they seem to have a lot many good words to say.

As we roll into the Christmas weekend, Santa Claus has dropped a gift into the movie lovers' stocking — the first reviews of Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal are here and they seem to have a lot many good words to say. But what's important to note here is that the film falls into the sports film genre — and that is saying a lot because it's difficult to segregate films into one genre or the other, thanks to all the experimental cinema.

And it is indeed heartening to see the genre of sports films evolve. Just like films on unconventional subjects like LGBT issues, sports films now are capturing the essence of that world, depicting a game's intricacies, weaving a spell around viewers with a deft mix of fact and fiction. Little surprise, therefore, that so many movies are being made of late on sports icons or games that demand more attention than they get.

Sports films play an integral role in nurturing the sporting culture or sporting ethos of a country. India has been making a concerted effort to become a multi-sport nation.
In the wake of such a paradigm shift towards sport, films like Dangal may prove to be a small but important thrust towards that direction as it can inspire more people to take up those sports. These films and the convincing characters in them, their grit and the never-say-die attitude of sporting legends, are truly inspiring. Wrestling, for instance, may get a huge fillip from Dangal.

A well-made sports film helps remove misconceptions about the game. And, like any piece of art worth its weight, it stays with the viewer long after he/she leaves the theatres. Films are also an important medium to grab attention to a sport and its iconic athletes. It will be a happy coincidence if we see some champions, whose first brush with a sport was because of a film.

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