Bollywood and sports are without a doubt the most popular industries in India. And when they both come together, one should expect nothing less than a classic film for people of all age groups. The story of an underdog’s success, a biopic about a famous sports star or a forgotten hero, Bollywood has given us a number of ‘must watch’ movies. Here are 20 Bollywood Sports Movies that you absolutely should not miss:
Ohh, this movie! Drama, Romance, Cricket – it has everything you need in a Bollywood movie. Emraan Hashmi finds cricket match-fixing as a shortcut to earn a lot of money. He marries the girl of his dreams without telling her about his wrongdoings. But all hell breaks loose when the girl realizes where Emraan’s gets his luxurious living from.
The movie shows the ugly side of cricket which has been in the news for the past few decades. You get a closer look in the world of match-fixing and betting. And although there is a lot of drama in the movie, the storyline and the character played by Emraan Hashmi makes this a must watch movie.
2Ferrari Ki Sawaari
Yes, there will be a lot of movies related to cricket in this list. Because let’s face it, Cricket and Bollywood simply cannot be separated.
Ferrari Ki Sawaari is the movie about an honest father who goes out of his ways to help his son’s Cricket career. Sharman Joshi plays the role of a father who wants nothing but his son to succeed in Cricket. Boman Irani, on the other hand, does not want his grandson to get into the game where the competition can crush millions of dreams. Sharman’s son is selected for the training camp at the Lord’s and has a chance to play with none other than Sachin Tendulkar.
The only problem is Sharman is a clerk in the office and does not have the money to send his son to London. So the honest man decides to get his hands dirty for money – by stealing Sachin’s Ferrari for a day. The fun ride begins when he gets in trouble for the million dollar car.
The movie beautifully portrays how, despite being the nation with most opportunities in Cricket, we still miss out on a few gems who simply cannot afford to risk their livelihood to spend money on the game where they might or might not become successful due to the insane competition.
Biopics about Hockey players are a rarity in India. But the story of Sandeep Singh, the former Indian captain, is tailor-made for Bollywood.
Nicknamed Flicker Singh, the penalty corner specialist was accidentally shot in the back in Kalka Shatabdi Express train in 2006. Only 20 at the time of the accident, Sandeep Singh was almost paralyzed and had to spend a year on the wheelchair. The chances of him ever playing Hockey again were very bleak.
But the warrior that he was, Singh returned to the field, became the captain of India and played a crucial role in securing the Olympic qualification for London 2012. The movie brilliantly shows Singh’s determination to return after an injury and efforts he puts in to achieve his goal.
Apne is a classic Bollywood Sports movie about the family of boxers. The legendary actor, Dharmendra plays the role of a former boxer, falsely accused of doping. In order to get his reputation back, Dharmendra tries hard to train his both sons to win the championship. And the story of their struggle, hard work, and eventual success is truly remarkable.
Apne shows how a sport can bond the family and how they will put their lives on the line to climb to the top of the mountain.
5Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii
An example of how sports and comedy can be perfectly mixed in a movie. Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii is a story of an orphan who finds a ‘Magic Bat’ which helps him get into the struggling Indian cricket team.
The kid goes on to achieve success and fame with his performances. But can he succeed without magic? Was it the bat that had the magic or was it the kid himself? An entertaining movie with a beautiful ending, Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii, is a must watch even for adults.
6Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar
Although not exactly a Sports movie, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar will always be remembered as the ‘Cycle Racing’ movie. The movie shows the rivalry between two colleges, Rajput College, for rich kids and the Model College, for students from middle-class families.
Aamir Khan plays the role of a happy-go-lucky student who hardly cares about a rivalry. But circumstance make him mature and he decides to make up for it in the marathon Cycle race. The movie takes a proper Bollywood turn in the middle, with subplots about love and relationships, but for a sports fan, this line is all you need to keep yourself motivated:
“Woh sikandar hi dosto kehlata hai, Haari baazi ko jeetna jise aata hai” (Real Champion is the one who can steal the win from the jaws of defeat)
The story of the former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s life was nothing short of a movie itself. And it was eventually made into a biopic in 2016 with Emraan Hashmi playing the role of Azhar.
Azharuddin was the most successful captain of the Indian team before he was banned for life in a match-fixing scandal in 2000. The batsman was also famous for his off-field controversies, especially his affair with former Miss India Sangeeta Bijlani. The movie shows everything from Azhar’s hard work in the early days to his controversies, although with a lot of ‘masala’ in it.
8Budhia Singh – Born to Run
Definitely not the most glamorous and popular sports biopic, this movie is a story of the youngest marathon runner. Budhia Singh of Odisha ran 65 kilometers in seven hours and two minutes in 2006 when he was just five years old. He made it to the Limca Book of world record as the world’s youngest marathon runner. Singh had completed 48 marathons by the time he was only five.
But Singh’s story goes beyond the marathon. His mother sold him to a traveling salesman due to poverty before taking him back and sending him to a local judo coach and an orphanage operator. Singh’s coach, Biranchi Das, played by Manoj Bajpayee in the movie, was murdered in 2008 by a local gangster. But before his death, Das was questioned for his treatment towards Budhia Singh, who had earned fame and money due to his records.
Yet another gem of a movie, completely ignored by most of the fans. R. Madhavan plays the lead role of a boxer who never made it to the big stage due to dirty politics. But a few years later, he returns to the ring, this time as a coach of the women’s boxing team.
He faces adversities while coaching as well but eventually helps a fish seller, to win the World Boxing Championship. The movie is not far from the reality in India, where women athletes are still facing difficulties in training and partiality in selection.
10Paan Singh Tomar
Paan Singh Tomar was a soldier in the Indian Army, who won the gold medal in the steeplechase at the National Games. In fact, Tomar was the 7-time National champion in the 1950s.
But his life took an ugly turn when he returned to his village after retirement. Tomar was involved in the family dispute where one thing led to another and the former National Champion ended up murdering eight people. He was eventually shot dead by Police after a few years of laying low and running away from them.
In the movie, Irrfan Khan plays the role of Pan Singh Tomar and the actor has absolutely nailed it, winning the National Award for the ‘Best Actor’.
This one needs no introduction – the story of 6-time World Champion and an Olympic Bronze medallist, Mary Kom. The boxer had to fight against poverty, gender discrimination before making her name in the field of boxing.
Even after her first few World Championships, Mary Kom had to take a hiatus after delivering twins in 2007. And the story of her return to the ring was just as inspirational as her early days. Priyanka Chopra plays the role of the legendary boxer in the movie.
It is not a rare sight to see fame going into an athlete’s head. But it is important how they react to it once they realize the mistake. Sultan Ali Khan, played by Salman Khan starts wrestling just to impress his love interest, Anushka Sharma. He eventually wins her heart and also becomes an Olympic Gold medallist in the process.
But an arrogant and selfish Sultan is left alone after his wife leaves him after their newborn’s death. But Sultan realizes his mistake and eventually returns to fight in MMA League, fights hard to get back in the shape and eventually wins both League and his wife back.
13M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story
The untold story of the most successful captain of the Indian cricket team, M. S. Dhoni. The movie shows the story behind the MS Dhoni we see today – The efforts he put in for years and his journey from the goalkeeper of a school team to a Ticket Collector to the World Cup winning captain.
Sushant Singh Rajput does a brilliant job of playing the former captain’s role. The actor nailed Dhoni’s look, his famous batting style, and whatnot. The movie was a huge success thanks to Dhoni’s popularity.
14Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
One of the very few Bollywood movies about Football, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal is the story of a football club in England, which mainly consists of players from the subcontinental background. The club is considered below average in comparison with other teams in the league.
But with passion, hard work and their key player, played by John Abraham, they manage to surprise everyone. But John now has a decision to make before last few games – Will he play for the team of his people or a bigger club which is infamous for racism?
It is a story of India’s first Hockey gold medal at the Olympics as an independent nation. Indian Hockey Team was absolutely dominant in the 1930s, winning three consecutive Olympic Gold medals, 1928, 1932 and 1936. But they won it playing as British India, representing the Union Jack Flag.
The manager of the team, Akshay Kumar, wants India to win the Gold medal as an independent nation, playing for the Tricolour flag. He starts to prepare a team for the 1948 Olympics but suffers after few of his players leave after the partition of India.
Despite facing difficulties, India manages to win the gold medal, their first as an independent nation and definitely not the last one.
A criminally underrated movie, Iqbal is the story of a deaf and mute boy from a small village who dreams of playing for India.
Shreyas Talpade plays the lead role of Iqbal, who is often dispirited by his father for dreaming of becoming a cricketer. But his sister helps him find a coach to fulfill his dream. After a bit of dirty politics, Iqbal eventually finds a place in the Ranji team where he grabs selector’s attention with his fiery bowling.
The boy from a village, who can neither talk nor listen, then gets a place into the national team just with his hard work and determination. What is your excuse to not succeed?
We are getting into ‘Everyone has watched it, but how the hell can we keep them out of the list’ territory of the movies now.
Dangal is the story of a father who wants his kids to complete his dream of representing India in wrestling. And that did not stop him from asking his daughters to wrestle. Aamir Khan plays the role of a father, who receives backlash for training his daughters but he eventually succeeds as they both win the Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
This is the story of India’s first ever Gold medallist in women’s wrestling, Geeta Phogat and her sister, Babita Phogat The sisters were coached by their father Mahavir Singh Phogat.
18Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
The biopic based on the life of ‘The Flying Sikh’ – Milkha Singh. In one of the best Bollywood movies ever made, Farhan Akhtar plays the role of Milkha Singh brilliantly as the story shows the athlete’s struggle in the early days and his rise to the top.
Milkha Singh’s childhood was marred by the partition of India, where he lost his parents. He eventually becomes an athlete in the Indian Army. After his failure at the 1956 Olympics, Milkha trains harder than ever to make a name for himself. And he did make a name for himself – The Flying Sikh, named by none other than the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
If you ever find yourself low on motivation, this is the movie to watch.
Lagaan is the story of people from a small town who challenge the British Officers, for a match in order to cancel the taxes (Lagaan). Aamir Khan, the leader of the team, manages to gather a group of people who are nothing but beginners in Cricket.
But the team manages to upset the British, with a victory off the last ball. The movie became an instant hit in India and even managed to win an Oscar nomination. To this day, every Indian victory against England is compared to Lagaan.
20Chak De! India
Without a doubt, the best Bollywood Sports movie of all time. Chak De India is a story of an underdog team winning the Hockey World Cup with the help of a coach, in search of redemption.
Shah Rukh Khan plays the role of a coach, who decides to train the women’s Hockey team, years after he missed a crucial penalty stroke against Pakistan as a player. He finds difficulties during training, as the federation is not really keen on helping women’s team.
But against all odds, Shah Rukh and his girls make it to the final of the World Cup and eventually winning in in the penalty shoot-out. The movie became insanely popular in India and Chak De! India became a go-to slogan for all the sports team in the country.