10 Bollywood Movies That Every Football Fan Should Watch

10 Bollywood Movies That Every Football Fan Should Watch View All Articles

Posted On: 19 Jul 2021 | Last Updated: 20 Aug 2021

The game of football comes a close second to cricket as far as popularity is concerned in India. Football may not be the sport that used to be a couple of decades back to what it is now. With Indian Super League here to stay and more and more star names associating themselves with Indian football is all the more likely that the sport will rake in the much-needed moolah in the future. Taking a clue from cricketing stars and biopics Bollywood has been inspired by football and made films based on it in the past but unfortunately didn’t turn out to be that popular. Bollywood movies on football have managed to generate interest but are hard to recall by many. As a tribute to the great sport, we bring to you a list of 10 football films in Bollywood that created an impact despite facing tough competition from other popular sport-based films. Let us know in case we have missed out on any Bollywood film which particularly revolved around football.

(Note: We haven’t taken into consideration Gurinder Chadha’s 2002 English film Football Shootball Hai Rabba which was the Hindi dubbed version of Bend It Like Beckham, Anil Kapoor’s Saaheb (1985), and Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) which had Shah Rukh Khan playing a soccer player but wasn’t completely based on football.)

1. Hip Hip Hurray (1984)

Probably the first Bollywood film based on the sport of football, Hip Hip Hurray ranks right up there. This sports drama released in 1984 was directed by Prakash Jha and had Raj Kiran, Deepti Naval, and Shafi Inamdar as the main cast. The story of the film was simple where Raj Kiran who is a qualified computer engineer takes up a temporary job as a sports instructor in a school in Ranchi and leads the school to a historic win in an inter-school football match. The film on release didn’t find many takers but later became a cult sports drama on the video circuit giving a few goosebumps to its watchers.

Hip Hip Hurray (1984)

2. The Goal (1999)

One of Irrfan Khan’s initial award-winning movies, The Goal revolved around a football coach who is called by his football-loving friend to coach a team of boys for a local club tournament. Written by Bengali writer Prafulla Roy and directed by Gul Bahar Singh, the film also touches upon poor children who despite having an undying passion for football cannot play the game due to respective family backgrounds. Irrfan as the football coach is amazing showing sparks of his acting prowess while the poor boy Manu (Tapas Dhali) ends up playing for the rival team.

The Goal (1999)

3. Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007)

Bollywood films about football or soccer and director Vivek Agnihotri’s Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal comes instantly to mind. Rated among one of the best Bollywood sports entertainers, this 2007 sports drama starring John Abraham, Bipasha Basu, Arshad Warsi, and Boman Irani was the story of a football-loving South Asian community in the UK that goes ballistic to win against the whites in a nail-biting climax. Though the film was shot well and ended on a positive note, it managed to receive average reviews and was moderately successful at the box office. The soundtrack composed by Pritam with lyrics by Javed Akhtar was good.

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007)

4. Sikandar (2009)

Sikandar is another movie that portrayed the passion of football among school kids which was a welcome change among the then released Bollywood movies dealing with terror-driven themes. Released in 2009 and directed by Piyush Jha, Sikandar was a moving story of a 14-year-old schoolboy Sikandar Raza (Parzan Dastur) whose parents get killed by jihadis (militants) and ends up living with his aunt and uncle who stay in Kupwara, Kashmir. Sikandar is passionate about football and dreams to excel and become an expert in the sport. Soon life takes a ‘U’ turn for him when he gets into a different and darker journey. Sikandar though was well-made it makes a point by saying that a whole lot of talent in sports lies in Kashmir as they too deserve a chance.

Sikandar (2009)

5. Stand By (2011)

Mention Hindi movies based on football and Stand By is another sports drama which could’ve caught the attention of many sports lovers if promoted properly by its makers or stars. Though the film is based on the game of soccer but brings to light our poor sports system where more than talent politics is given prominence. The story is about two young friends – Shekhar and Rahul, who are football lovers, the former is an industrialist’s son while the latter is the son of a bank employee. Rahul gets selected for the National Team while Shekhar gets to be a 'stand by'. Shekhar’s father uses his influence to ensure that his son gets to play in the team. Directed by Sanjay Surkar the cast included Siddharth Kher, Sachin Khedekar, Dalip Tahil, Mohit Arora, Nagesh Bhonsle, Manish Chaudhary and Avtar Gill.

Stand By (2011)

6. 27th December 1987 Final Match (2015)

Final Match, this lesser-known movie based on the 1987 massacre of a group of Dalits in Aurangabad, Bihar, also had its central theme based on the sports of football. The story revolved around a group of Dalits who were enslaved and are forced to play a football match only to be later brutally massacred. The film comprised of an unknown cast belonging to rural India was directed by Santosh Badal who had to show some blood-shed before building up the climax leading to the football match.

27th December 1987 Final Match (2015)

7. Tu Hai Mera Sunday (2017)

The title of Tu Hai Mera Sunday may not suggest being the typical sports drama but still was an interesting watch that makes us think about where to play the game of football in a concrete jungle like Mumbai city. Directed by Milind Dhaimade, Tu Hai Mera Sunday also portrayed the passion of playing football by commoners -- a story about 5 friends who work the whole week but do not find a place to play the sport. Despite having a decent star cast including Barun Sobti, Shahana Goswami, Avinash Tiwary, Vishal Malhotra, Rasika Dugal, and Maanvi Gagroo, the film sank without a trace even after receiving critical acclaim.

Tu Hai Mera Sunday (2017)

8. Penalty (2019)

We are sure many might have not even heard about this sports drama film Penalty released in 2019. Penalty was a well-made film directed by Shubham Singh which talks about a football lover Lukram Smil who hails from Manipur. Lukram who decides to make it big in football joins SRMU, a University in Lucknow which is well known for producing international-level footballers. Despite demonstrating fine football skills, he is side-lined by coach Vikram Singh (Kay Kay Menon), who believes that North-Eastern Indian’s are ‘Outsiders’ and don’t deserve a chance. How Lukram proves a point by making a comeback makes the film worth a watch.

Penalty (2019)

9. Maidaan (2021)

Talk about Bollywood films on football, and there’s nothing more exciting than watching a big star like Ajay Devgn taking center stage in a biographical sports drama, Maidaan. Maidaan is based on true sporting events that take us back to the golden era of Indian football (1952–1962) where football coach Syed Abdul Rahim (played by Ajay Devgn) trains and prepares a football team to triumph against all odds to win a major tournament. Directed by Amit Sharma and starring Ajay Devgn, Priyamani, Gajraj Rao, and Rudranil Ghosh, the film is expected to release in 2021 and is expected to go down as one of the top Bollywood movies based on football.

Maidaan (2021)

10. Jhund (2021)

Jhund is the latest entrant to the list of Bollywood football film's which reportedly is a story based on the life of Vijay Barse, who is claimed to be the founder of Slum Soccer. Though the story is still under wraps but as per sources, Amitabh Bachchan who plays the central character of Vijay Barse is a professor who motivates the street children to form a football team and enter a tournament. Directed by Nagraj Manjule, the film awaits release and hopes to inspire a whole lot of rural kids aspiring to take up the sport.

Jhund (2021)