Inspiring sports-themed Tamil movie

In ‘Bigil’, victory was only possible after repeated failures and corrective approaches to mitigate the mistakes made


THE rainy weather over the Deepavali weekend kept temperatures low and nice. On Deepavali eve, my siblings and I, and our families joined my mother at her home for a meal.

There were lots of food and we ate it the traditional way — with us seated on the floor and eating food served on a banana leaf. It was fun.

On Deepavali day, we watched “Karate Kid” starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith on HBO. We truly enjoyed the storyline, action scenes and young Smith’s acting skills.

The story, though typical Hollywood material, inspired me. The message that came off the movie was that perseverance and discipline can take one far in life.

On the second day of Deepavali, my family and I went to the cinema to watch the latest Tamil release titled “ Bigil”, which in English means whistle.

The message behind ‘Bigil’ is that football is a game that unites people, including the poor, needy and the marginalised

The storyline is as follows: The lead character Michael (played by popular Tamil actor Vijay) takes over as coach of the Tamil Nadu state women’s football team. But he has a past associated with the sport. How he leads his team to victory is what the movie is all about.

Both “Karate Kid” and “Bigil” have one thing in common, which is sports. In the former, it is karate and the latter, football.

Recently, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik was impressed by the Tamil movie “Raatchasi” and he said he wanted every teacher to emulate the movie’s lead character who plays the role of a teacher who is very dedicated to her profession.

“Bigil” is an inspiring movie too. The message behind this film is that football is a game that unites people, including the poor, needy and the marginalised. This is applicable to B40 Malaysians who, whether they live in rural or urban areas, face various challenges.

The movie makes a point about hidden talents that are left to rot, especially in the case of women. The story touches on two state women footballers who had to give up football — one after she got married and the other after an acid attack by a spurned lover.

These two characters are synonymous with Indian women who many a time are deprived of their career or positions due to marriage. An interest ing character in  “Bigil” is the hero’s father who is a reformed gangster and pleads to his son to “focus on the game”. He tells his son to introduce football to more youngsters’ so that they would not resort to gangsterism or other vices. In the end, even the film’s villain brings his young son to the hero, asking him to train his son.

Sports is a wonderful gel that brings out the best in any person and also changes his/ her future. Sports not only keeps you fit and healthy, but can also make you go places.

Sports teaches you the importance of discipline.

In “Karate Kid”, Jackie Chan’s character forces Smith’s character to take off his jacket and hang it on a hook. The boy is clearly irritated, but his master insists that he does this before starting formal lessons. In short, this is the way to teach the boy two things: Discipline and learning to obey instructions.

Both “Bigil” and “Karate Kid” convey the message that discipline and the right coach can make a person a world champion. In the case of the Tamil film, victory was only possible after repeated failures and corrective approaches to mitigate the mistakes made.

The coach finally earns the trust of the players and the rest is history.

Sports has no race, religion or social status.

No one will look at a successful sportsman or woman to see if he/she is poor or rich. People will only say, “You are the best”.

Malaysia’s greatest sportsmen and women include sprint legend Tan Sri Dr M Jegathesan, badminton star Datuk Lee Chong Wei, squash legend Datuk Nicol David, diving ace Pandelela Rinong Pamg, figure skating champion Julian Yee Zhi-Zie, Olympian silver medallist cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, and bowling queen Shalin Zulkifli.

The above names are embedded deeply in every Malaysian. Whenever they participate in an international event, we don’t cheer for them as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban or Kadazan. We cheer and pray for them as Malaysians.

I hope more Malaysians from the B40 group will indulge in sports as it will promise them a better life. “Bigil” may not teach you how to play good football, but it will show you how sports can reform the downtrodden and enable them to taste success through discipline, coaching and mentoring. — Bernama

Ravindran Raman Kutty is an award winning communications practitioner and a fellow of the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia. The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.