Jasvinder Sidhu’s film “Last Goodbye to 22 yards” shows how and why the whole nation is swayed by Sachin Tendulkar.
“Sachin is cricket and cricket is Sachin,” may sound clichéd but it holds true for the personality and the game in India. His retirement was viewed by Indians with a deep sense of anguish and sorrow. His fan-following boasts of tennis star Roger Federer and racing great Michael Schumacher.
“Last Goodbye to 22 yards”, a 38-minute film, shot on a pocket camera by sports scribe Jasvinder Sidhu was screened last week at the Press Club of India, and is surprisingly not about Sachin Tendulkar.
It is about how the common man (aam aadmi) perceives him. The film covers his last Ranji match at Lahli, near Rohtak in Haryana, and his last farewell Test matches against West Indies at Kolkata and Mumbai.
The pell-mell for tickets among the diverse spectators outside the Lahli stadium encouraged Sidhu to focus on the fans of the star cricketer. Sample this: A village sarpanch vociferously stating that all the denizens of his village want to attend Sachin’s match as they have been hearing and reading about him for such a long time.
Darshan, another ardent fan from Mumbai, has made an album of Sachin’s photographs and records. What is unique about it? Each landmark date of the batsman’s life is matched with the serial number of the currency which he had collected with diligence. The fan was repeatedly reprimanded by his father but he continued with his hobby by spending from his pocket money.
Amazing is Ajit Singh, who can rattle Sachin’s cricket statistics at the drop of a hat. Veteran scorer Naresh Parashar, who accompanied the Indian team on its tour to Pakistan in 1989, has a bio-data penned by Sachin, who signed the paper at Lahli.
Spin great and former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi said the movie was a “good and personal effort.” He said the legend’s mother deserved a salute to have borne such a superhero. Others who spoke were sports scribes Pradeep Magazine and Sharda Ugra.
The essence of the movie is captured by the banner “Gods do not retire” held by a fan at Mumbai.