Death of a Gentleman - Movie Review

Death of a Gentleman, Poster

"It is easier to make a film on Sachin Tendulkar rather than a film about cricket," said Jarrod Kimber, co-director of "Death of a Gentleman", while addressing a press conference in Mumbai through Skype.

Five years ago, two cricket fans who became journalists, Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber met each other and discussed an idea on making a film about cricket. They were later joined by their third co-director Johnny Blank. Thus their journey began where they started peeling off layer by layer on how the cricket is consumed and managed by a group of businessmen behind closed doors. 

Cricket is known as "gentleman's game". Introduced by the colonial imperialists, the Britishers used the sport to dominate the Indian masses and other colonies and provided them a means for entertainment. But many experts believe that the sport is more than just mere entertainment. The legends of the game say that the Test cricket is the classical and the ultimate form of cricket which tests the endurance of individuals and the team.

"Death of a Gentleman" is a film about greed, self-interest and moral-corruption that lurks the game of cricket. Unlike FIFA, who's reach is ever-growing, cricket is a game restricted to fewer nations. As a private entity, cricket is ruled by an International Council of Cricket or ICC. The film deals with the many problems afflicting the game, including sidelining of Test cricket in favour of Twenty20, without proper standards of governance. Like an investigative reporters, the film makers travel across England, Australia, India and Dubai to confront the barons of the game who's decision off-field affects the way it is played on-field. 

At one point, as the story uncovers in front of you, the feeling of antagonism towards Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and members of Australian and English cricket board will engulf you in rage. Chris Gayle comes in defence on the players' decision to play Indian Premier League (IPL), instead of playing test cricket for their own country is more or less justifiable. The cricket experts who show their concern over the deterioration of test cricket is heartfelt. Interview with N Srinivasan, former President of BCCI and current Chairman of ICC, highlights the evasive characteristic of a man drowned in corruption allegations. He is also the owner of India Cements who owned the dubious Chennai Super Kings team and now he is reigning over the world of cricket. Giles Clarke, the current President of England and Wales Cricket Board, without uttering shows his colour as a true businessmen. The film also highlights the viewpoints of the victims who were sidelined when they tried to do good for the betterment of cricket. The spotlight also falls on the infamous Lalit Modi, who is using his full ammo to go after the people who used him to create the IPL and then banished him. 

There was a time, when I was enraged and happy at the same time. I was enraged by the fact that India, Australia and England have made the sport for "members only" while leaving the rest of the world away from the share of knowledge and wealth of cricket. I was happy for the fact India was finally dominating over a sport which was introduced in England and now has the first and the last say on every decision involving cricket. What does that make me? Dhritiman Chatterjee's character Siddhartha from Satyajit Ray's film 'Pratidwandi'. 

But the investigative reportage takes a humanistic approach while telling the viewers that everything is not wrong with cricket and there is still more to it. It is through the eyes of Ed Cowan, an Australian cricketer, who made his debut for the national side at the age of 29, that we find that whatever one desires and works towards it, he or she can achieve it. After all, age is just a number.

Every sport in modern day in induced in the greed of few businessmen who for some reason feel they control the world. Their intentions and motivations comes alive behind the closed doors but are not revealed to the world unless they choose to. Everything runs in a corporate model and mechanism in today's time. Cricket is a sport loved by every person in India and rest of the world. "Death of a Gentleman" is an eye-opener to every cricket loving fan, who needs to understand and become aware about how cricket is controlled and consumed. It is not merely just a sport. 

In the end, you have two choices. Either you ignore it or you become aware. But how can you deal with "most powerful men" after you become aware of the surrounding? Again you will be presented with two choices. And that choice cannot be spoon-fed by any films. You're your own judge, witness and executioner.

In my conclusion, I would like to say that cricket is not a gentleman's game. It was played by the Lords and noblemen in their spare time while the colonies burned to please the Company.    

About Author - 

Sanket Ray worked at TimesNow and NewsX as journalist, in various capacities. He is a photographer and visual artist of promising calibre. He has worked as storyboard artist in feature films too.

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your insightful comments are highly appreciated!

Note: The film features leading faces and voices from the cricket world – from Rahul Dravid, Lalit Modi, N Srinivasan, Harsha Bhogle, Jonathan Agnew, Kevin Pietersen, Giles Clarke, Ed Cowan, Ravi Shastri, Tony Cozier, Mark Nicholas, David Warner, Chris Gayle, Michael Holding, David Lloyd,  Andrew Strauss, Gideon Haigh, Ian Chappell and many more.

You can watch Death of a Gentleman for Rs.99/- exclusively on TVFPlay here: (This film is available only in India). 

Death of a Gentleman Trailer

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