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From Drama to Inspiration: The Essential List of Bollywood Sports Movies You Must Watch

Nothing beats the experience of playing a sport in person, watching sports movies can come close in providing an exhilarating experience. Movies based on the lives of sporting heroes often portray tales of grit, determination, and accomplishment against all odds, showcasing the full spectrum of emotions that make sports special. It’s no surprise that these movies make for box office blockbusters! If you’re a sports lover, here are some hand-picked Bollywood sports movies about Indian athletes that you shouldn’t miss.

Chak De! India

Chak De! India

One of the highly-rated Indian sports movies that showcases the talent of Bollywood is the 2007 film, Chak De! India. While it draws inspiration from the Indian women’s hockey team’s 2002 Commonwealth Games victory, the fictional movie featuring Shah Rukh Khan explores serious themes such as feminism, sexism, partition, bigotry, and prejudice. After facing ostracism following a loss to Pakistan, Shah Rukh Khan’s character, former Indian captain Kabir Khan, redeems himself by coaching and motivating the Indian women’s team to victory. Released on India’s 60th Independence Day, the movie strikes the right patriotic chords and is a highly enjoyable watch even for those who aren’t fans of hockey.

Mary Kom

In the 2014 eponymous movie based on the life of legendary Indian boxer MC Mary Kom, Priyanka Chopra delivers a fantastic performance.

Mary Kom

The Mary Kom movie portrays the journey of the Indian boxer as a pugilist, as well as her struggles in balancing her family and career. The film received widespread critical acclaim and recorded the highest-ever opening weekend for a female-led Indian film.

Priyanka Chopra underwent rigorous physical training to accurately portray Mary Kom’s style of boxing, to the point where even seasoned boxing enthusiasts would struggle to find flaws in her depiction of the action. Despite the film’s release in 2014, it only covers Mary Kom’s life up to her 2008 World Boxing Championships victory, as per contractual limitations. This exclusion unfortunately leaves out her historic bronze medal win at the 2012 London Olympics.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) is a biographical sports film based on the life of Milkha Singh, the Commonwealth Games and multiple Asian Games medal-winning Indian sprinter. Starring Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh, the film portrays his early life during the partition era, and follows his struggles and upbringing on the path to becoming one of India’s most beloved athletes. The film is a no-holds-barred account of Singh’s life, showcasing his triumphs and tribulations.

Regarded as one of the finest Bollywood sports movies, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is adapted from the book “The Race of My Life,” co-authored by Milkha Singh and his daughter. Remarkably, Singh charged only one rupee for the film rights on the condition that a share of the profits goes to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust, which supports underprivileged sportspersons.

Dangal

Dangal is a movie that portrays the inspiring story of the Phogat family of wrestlers, with a special focus on Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, as well as their father and coach, Mahavir Singh Phogat. The movie is a tribute to their unwavering determination and hard work, as they challenge traditional gender norms in a sport dominated by men.