There are quite a few urban legends behind the martial arts film Enter The Dragon: Bruce Lee, who helped script it, refused to turn up on the set for days because the studio wanted to change the title and cut many of the philosophical scenes about “fighting without fighting” (coincidentally, columnist Nisha Susan writes about the art of fighting the good fight this week). Eventually, Lee—the martial artist and actor whose authenticity brings the film to life—prevailed and we got what many consider among the finest martial arts films.
As with action films, authenticity is key to a sports film’s success, no matter how huge the star playing the lead. What brings films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mary Kom and 83 to life—as much as the storyline of underdogs overcoming the odds—is the realistic sports action. Ranveer Singh coiling and raising a leg to play a shot just like Kapil Dev did, or Farhan Akhtar mimicking Milkha’s Singh’s gait and unusual gestures on the track. Behind all that action are consultants, many of them professional sportspersons themselves, whom we meet this week.
These consultants work with directors to ensure realism isn’t sacrificed for dramatic effect, train actors to keep the action authentic, and even ensure that the crowds in the stadium look like they are really there for the football or cricket and not the celebrity sightings. The consultants tell us what it takes to turn a director, film stars and an entire crew into sportspersons, or at least people who understand the sport deeply enough to convey the struggle to the audience.
If you are looking for action and fantasy this weekend (apart from the films listed in our cover), we recommend The Rings Of Power, among the most awaited shows of the season. It may not be perfect but it is a glorious return to the wonder and fears of Middle-earth. And, as always, we have stories on travel, film, food, music and more.
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