It’s that time of year when Hollywood unleashes the superhero blockbusters. India has premiered one of its own. Sachin: A Billion Dreams, an authorised biopic. It doesn’t feature a caped crusader saving the planet, but its main character — arguably, the only pan-Indian superhero — does repeatedly save his country its blushes on a cricket ground for nearly 24 years.
As most superheroes go, he too is beyond flaws. A man of unimpeachable moral authority. The biggest non-surprise that Sachin springs is that there are no surprises. Match-fixing to Monkeygate, forget a bit of black, there aren’t even any shades of grey.
Three and a half years have passed since Sachin’s moving adieu at the Wankhede Stadium. There has been time and opportunities, even a biography, for an unencumbered soul to voice things left unsaid during his playing days. Yet, he has stayed steadfastly tight-lipped. Sachin has made his choice. The intriguing thing is that, by sanctioning such an excessively sugar-coated film, he expects the public to buy into it.
Sachin and most other biopics perhaps say something about the perception filmmakers have of us, the audience: They know that we like our heroes without the slightest ambiguity. This indoctrination starts early. In school, historical figures are presented in black and white, good and bad. Little wonder, then, that our disbelief remains suspended.