Honouring Champions: 8 Inspiring Bollywood Sports Films For National Sports Day

As National Sports Day approaches, celebrate our nation's remarkable athletes and their achievements by immersing yourself in Bollywood's heartfelt cinematic tributes.

Published On Aug 29, 2023 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024


Every year, on August 29th, India commemorates National Sports Day in honour of Major Dhyan Chand's birthday – a revered hockey legend. This day pays homage to him and all Indian athletes. Sports, a remarkable facet of society, possesses the unique power to ignite exuberant energy and foster unity among people. The remarkable way sports unite individuals is unparalleled, transcending boundaries. Whether it's cricket, hockey, football, or any other sport, the passion people hold for their favourite sport, team, or athlete is a beautiful and somewhat extraordinary spectacle. We've all witnessed times when everything halted so people could wholeheartedly engage in crucial matches without interruption.

Drawing from this deep respect and fervent love India has for its sports, Bollywood has produced remarkable movies centred around or inspired by esteemed Indian sports legends. These films, an emotional rollercoaster, provide an intimate look into the struggles our athletes endured to rise as the revered icons they are today. Their unwavering dedication, discipline, and resilience in the face of challenges have transformed them into role models the nation proudly admires. These movies serve as a humble tribute from Bollywood to those who've devoted their lives to securing countless achievements for India through their athletic prowess.

Here are some of the best sports-based movies to watch this National Sports Day.

Chak De! India, one of India's most renowned sports-centric films, continues to capture the hearts of the audience. Anchored by the immensely talented Shah Rukh Khan, the movie draws inspiration from two significant events. Firstly, the remarkable victory of the Indian Women's Hockey team in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and secondly, the story of Mir Ranjan Negi, a former hockey player and coach. Negi faced a personal setback after conceding pivotal goals in a crucial match. The film's impact was so profound that even today, its title track evokes an instant surge of enthusiasm and energy.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag delves into the life and challenges of Milkha Singh, an early Indian athlete. Milkha Singh, a sprinter, achieved multiple medals and honours for India across various Commonwealth and Asian Games. The film provides an unembellished, authentic, and impactful portrayal of Milkha Singh's journey, starting from his childhood marred by the violence of the 1947 partition of India. Farhan Akhtar portrays Milkha Singh in the film, navigating through numerous obstacles and trials on his path to becoming India's premier athlete.

Titled after its subject, Mary Kom is a biographical film chronicling the journey of MC Mary Kom, an illustrious Indian boxer. With Priyanka Chopra portraying Mary Kom, the movie narrates her life story as she relentlessly overcomes challenges to establish herself as a professional boxer, despite daunting odds. The film also delves into her marriage, motherhood, and the art of balancing her roles as a boxer, wife, and mother. It captures her remarkable victory at the 2008 World Boxing Championship – a remarkable achievement given the discouragement she faced due to her maternity. Mary Kom's triumph not only secured a medal for her nation but also silenced her critics remarkably.

3. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)

Centred around M.S. Dhoni, the renowned Indian cricketer, the film provides a glimpse into the unwavering dedication and immense effort he invested throughout his life to earn a spot on the Indian cricket team. His pursuit was driven by a profound desire to don the Indian jersey and represent his nation. The movie not only celebrates his success and fame but also underscores his genuine passion for the game. Sushant Singh Rajput, the late Bollywood luminary, delivered an unforgettable performance that truly resonates.

If you believe that Bollywood's renowned sports films are solely based on popular sports like cricket or hockey, it's time to reconsider. Dangal, a highly acclaimed movie, sheds light on the remarkable journey of the Phogat sisters, a pair of wrestlers who have brought immense pride to India through their achievements in international competitions, including clinching the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. The film, featuring a skilled cast, offers an intimate perspective into the relentless dedication required to ascend as elite athletes in India.

Starring Akshay Kumar in the lead role, Gold draws inspiration from the journey of hockey player Balbir Singh and his pivotal role in shaping the triumphant men's hockey team that secured the gold medal in 1948. Singh's significant contributions played a fundamental role in building the team and charting its path to victory. While the film takes creative liberties in narrating the historical events, it remains a compelling and essential watch.

When discussing India's remarkable sports figures, Kapil Dev's name undoubtedly stands out. A colossal presence in the world of cricket, Kapil Dev's influence extends globally. He revitalised Indian cricket, leaving an indelible mark. Portrayed by Ranveer Singh on screen, his story serves as a testament to Kapil Dev's significant contributions to the sport. Most notably, he led his team to a historic victory, clinching the first-ever World Cup in 1983. This achievement solidifies his revered status in cricket's realm, upholding his legacy as a cricketing legend.

Shabaash Mithu, starring Taapsee Pannu in the titular role, delves into the life journey of Mithali Raj, an iconic figure in women's cricket. Mithali Raj, a stalwart in the sport, held the captaincy of the Indian women's cricket team from 2004 to 2022. Her remarkable achievements include being the highest run-scorer and receiving accolades from ESPN as one of the greatest female cricketers in history. The film pays homage to this exceptional athlete, shedding light on her extraordinary career and contributions to women's cricket.

Photo: Instgram/taapsee, 83thefilm