Sports like cricket, tennis and football, amongst many others, are an essential part of healthy living. Generally, cinema, which is a reflection of human life or part of it, takes themes which are associated with daily human life and presents them.
Tollywood made a foray into sports dramas in the late 1990s and occasionally includes an element of sports in its plots.
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We examine the top 10 Telugu movies which were based on sports in a significant way.
- Thammudu (1999)
This Pawan Kalyan film can be called the first major film in Telugu which had a serious sports hero. Pawan played a prodigal sibling of a boxing champion. Kalyan’s character realises his worth and trains to be a boxing champion. The movie is known for the real boxing exploits of Pawan Kalyan, who is, in real life, trained in martial arts.
- Bhadrachalam (2001)
Real life body builder Srihari brought many films in which he played a sportsman, the chief of which was Bhadrachalam. This movie showcased the taekwondo skills of Srihari, who portrayed an athlete who avenges the defeat of his master by winning over his teacher’s opponent.
- Sye (2004)
This S.S. Rajamouli film showcased another new game in Tollywood—rugby. The filmmaker gave an authentic account of how a rugby match is played, with a student group being pitted against a local don to get back their violated college ground.
- Okkadu (2003)
Director Gunasekhar cleverly wove a love story with a kabaddi player as the hero. Superstar Mahesh Babu obtained the status of being a superstar with this movie and he never looked back in Tollywood.
- Golconda High School (2011)
This is the best students sports drama in Telugu, with Mohan Krishna Indraganti showcasing his directorial skills. In this movie, a reluctant cricket coach thwarts the corporate encroachment of the school where he studied. He does so by coaching the school cricket team to win a cricket match and retain the cricket ground with the Golconda High School.
- Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi (2003)
This Puri Jagannadh movie showcased Ravi Teja as an estranged son of a champion kickboxer father. Family emotions were cleverly interwoven with a sports background by Puri Jagannadh in this hit movie. The movie was later remade in several languages, including Tamil.
- Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu (2010)
The remake of a hit Tamil movie, Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu marked the first time Nani starred in a movie based on sports. He played Suri, a kabaddi player who wins the match for his constantly losing village kabaddi team. The movie was noted for Nani’s stellar performance as a lovelorn kabaddi player who dies on the kabaddi pitch after he gifts victory to his team.
- Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju (2015)
This is another love story which begins with a girl idolising her college’s track running champion, but cannot marry him. At the end, they meet and live together, becoming an example of true lovers. In this movie, sports became an undercurrent through which the entire love story is narrated.
- Guru (2017)
This remake of the famous Tamil movie Irudhi Suttru showcased Venkatesh as a tough boxing coach. The coach picks up a random girl from a rural background and makes her a boxing champion to win a challenge against his rivals in the boxing administration. This movie was a big hit in Telugu, thanks to the act of Ritika Singh and Venkatesh.
- Jersey (2019)
Arguably Nani’s best performance till date, Jersey was a sports drama which dealt with the depression a cricketer undergoes after being unsuccessful in his career. However, he wants to reinvent his career in his late 30s. The theme and its treatment were both outstanding and Nani’s act made it to the top 100 performances by an Indian actor in 2019.
So, which is your favourite sports film from this list?