At the top today is Shelina Zadorsky.
Ramble of the Day
For the first time in a little while, I watched a football movie last week, but never got around to rambling about it. I took a look at my notes and realized if I didn’t ramble about it now, I’d forget about this movie, and the jokes I made along the way.
Anyway, the movie I watched was Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, an Indian film that made it to a Cannes Film Festival sidebar in 2007. It’s said to be a remake of DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, and also happens to be on Netflix. I share the following trailer out of obligation, not because it tells you anything about the story: It follows the players of Southall United, a team made up of players with roots in the Indian subcontinent, as they aim to reverse their 25 year long losing streak so the city council doesn’t replace their stadium with a shopping mall.
Two things I always look for in a piece of football fiction are the believability of the football story, and the football scenes themselves. The film gets a great score on the second (take notes, The English Game) and the football story itself was mostly fine. The underdog story is intertwined with a story of immigrants and racism, and it hits a lot of those notes well. The filmmakers convincingly show a team going from being garbage to being pretty good, while the stakes as non-league footballers and immigrants are relivable. Also believable: the coach of a team just called Aston inadequately handling an incident where a white player racially abuses one of the film’s protagonists, Sunny; and Southall coach Tony inadequately responding to one of his players possibly getting a concussion. Intentional or not, showing me some of English football’s failings made me believe the story more.
As a Bollywood film, it does good work of integrating songs into the storyline, which I would normally assume to be difficult in a sports movie. (There’s no Discofoot, but I will take it regardless.) The film’s biggest failing, though, is incorporating its main love story between Sunny and Rumana, the Southall doctor and the sister of the team’s captain, Shaan. Her character is written pretty horribly — the development of the romance has an interesting base because Shaan despises Sunny, but the way it plays out adds remarkably little value. Her lines are both infrequent and bad, and she also seems to be a very inactive doctor. (I attribute this to the writers forgetting about her, not purposefully making her useless.) She’s in quite a bit of the movie so it kills the rhythm a bit.
It’s not an above average football movie by any means, but there are some enjoyable moments, and it does sometimes hit the emotional notes it’s reaching for. I also feel fairly confident, though, that it’s not a particularly memorable movie.
tl;dr: I watched a Bollywood football film, and it was realistic but probably not above average.
Stay informed, read this: Douglas Brinkley on his final interview with baseball legend Hank Aaron, who died last week aged 86, and his legacy as a Black player in the sport for The New York Times
Links of the Day
Four players and the club president of Brazilian fourth tier side Palmas died in a plane crash Sunday.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane tested positive for COVID-19.
Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne will miss four to six weeks with a hamstring injury.
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy will miss a few weeks after getting hernia surgery.
Transfer updates: Fenerbahçe signed Mesut Özil from Arsenal; Arsenal signed Mat Ryan on loan from Brighton; AC Milan signed Fiyako Tomori on loan from Chelsea; Manchester United signed Maria Thorisdóttir from Chelsea
A longer read: Bryan Armen Graham interviews Catarina Macario on her journey from Brazil to becoming the USWNT’s most highly rated prospect for The Guardian