This story of a deaf-mute who became an international cricketer was one of the most heartwarming movies of 2005. It did not resort to much gimmickry (except maybe the chakravyuh thing which didn’t work so well for me) and placed its faith in the inherent appeal of the story it told. Add to it a few wonderful performances (Shreyas Talpade in a breakout performance as Iqbal, Shweta Prasad as his sister Khadija and Naseer in fine form as his alcoholic coach Mohit) and you have a winner in every sense.
While there is much to recommend the movie, the scene that stood out for me came right at the end, when Iqbal has finally realized his dream of playing for his country. As he walks out of the dressing room and into the ground and the background score reaches its crescendo, you feel as triumphant as he does.
But what really got to me was this little moment when the camera focuses on his sister Khadija beaming like a small sun and wiping away tears of happiness. It is the sort of cliched scene that doesn’t seem like much when you think about it. I mean, the movie is pretty much over at this point and all the heavy lifting has been done already. But every time the movie gets shown on TV, I see that scene and it moves me.
I think it is because of how Khadija’s character is portrayed. Kid sisters in the movies are usually very stereotyped. If I go through the list of archetypes, I’m sure you can list three movies for each one: sachcharine, vivacious, virtuous, borderline promiscuous (but reformed after a close call), rape victim…
Khadija comes across as a real person. Protective of her brother, determined to do all she can to help him succeed and frankly suspicious of his coach’s ability to stay off the booze. And when Iqbal finally makes it, that little moment when she is on screen makes you realize how much it is her success as well.