Sikandar opens with the activities of a small Muslim village in a beautiful mountainous setting. As school lets out, children stream downhill to the market plaza. A child spies a loose soccer ball, kicks it, and it explodes, blowing apart everything and everyone in the plaza. Welcome to routine life in Kashmir.
Penalty is a well-meaning but mostly flaccid first feature film from Director Shubham Singh. Singh uses football as a vehicle to weave a narrative about discrimination in northern India.
Gulbahar Singh is a director who wants to make feature films on humanity, and The Goal (द गोल) is an unusual football drama in that its coach decides that overcoming prejudice is more important than winning.
Gujarat 11 is promoted as the first Gujarati sports film and stars popular and handsome Gujarati actors Daisy Shah and Pratik Gandhi. The story mixes in a number of themes, but while each theme has good points, they are not enough to forgive 2 hours and 20 minutes of banality.
Sleeping Giant sat in my Amazon watchlist for 2-3 years, and now I’m quite sorry I so neglected this documentary. Director Daniel Glynn follows two U14 boys from South Mumbai, who are selected via a tournament to receive 6 weeks of football training at QPR.
Bigil was one of the top Indian moneymakers in 2019, and deservedly so. It wins the box office battle on the shoulders of a high powered star who leads across multiple fronts: drama, romance, football, martial arts action, music videos, and supporting strong females.
Jada is an uncommon mix of soccer, drama, romance, comedy, and suspense. Some reviewers deem it a confused mess from first-time Director Kumaran. But if you go along for the ride, there is a lot of entertainment value in this multi-faceted football film from India. And if you’re shut in, it will occupy 2 hours and 12 minutes of your endless day.
The footballing film Egaro (এগারো) takes place in British India in 1911. Subjugated by the English, Bengali natives are second-class citizens in their own country. Some try to succeed by working within the British system, while some are beaten and murdered by police. Some rebel with acts of terrorism.
It’s rare when a director’s first feature film is so thoroughly engaging, especially with a story that, in an elevator pitch, must have seemed so small. But the many close-ups and the actors’ pure performances magnify this story about humanity and bring Sudani from Nigeria home to your heart.
Inshallah, Football touched me, but I wasn’t sure why I felt that way. The answer was so complex, it took me 3 days to research and understand Director Ashvin Kumar’s persuasive documentary about the decades of conflict in Indian administered Kashmir, aka Jammu and Kashmir.
Fondi ’91 follows a team of 16 year old Jersey boys who travel to the small town of Fondi, Italy in 1991 to play in a soccer tournament. Some of the boys are very randy and keen to hook up with Italian fillies or stallions.
Bend It Like Beckham proves that when a story is close to the heart, it can make an outstanding soccer movie and family film. At $78M, BILB is probably the top-grossing soccer movie of all time (made for ~$7M).
In Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, a South Asian community in England has a struggling semi-pro football team. They need to win the league or the stadium will be sold for redevelopment. Sadly, their star is enticed to play for their better all-white rivals. But the star player encounters racism on his new team. He returns to his community and saves the stadium. Lots of singing and dancing ensue.