26 Best Sports Movies in India (Outside of Cricket)

Sports Movies in India
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There’s a certain beauty in watching an underdog (player or team) fight against all challenges and rise to the occasion. There’s a certain predictability, too, but instead of taking away from our experience, it only adds to its beauty. But more than simply entertainment, sports movies can arouse and inspire.

As the Indian Olympic 2024 season approaches, we’ve compiled some of the best sports movies in India (and don’t worry, we go beyond just Bollywood movies about sports). We’ve kept it a combination of fictional stories and biopics, and we hope you’ll find something that evokes and excites your spirit. If you think we missed a title that should’ve been included, please comment below. Ready? Let’s begin!

Best Sports Movies in India

  1. Chandu Champion (2024)
  2. Mary Kom (2014)
  3. Maidaan (2024)
  4. Irudhi Suttru (2016)
  5. Chak De! India (2007)
  6. Gold (2018)
  7. Rashmi Rocket (2021)
  8. Mukkebaaz (2017)
  9. Captain (2018)
  10. Jhund (2022)
  11. Jungle Cry (2022)
  12. Sarpatta Parambarai (2021)
  13. Koni (1984)
  14. Golondaaj (2021)
  15. Aaha (2021)
  16. Gujarat 11 (2019)
  17. 10 (2022)
  18. Yellow (2014)
  19. Dangal (2016)
  20. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)
  21. Budhia Singh: Born to Run (2016)
  22. Hawaa Hawaai (2014)
  23. Bheemli Kabadi Jattu (2010)
  24. Godha (2017)
  25. Harjeeta (2018)
  26. Tunka Tunka (2021)

1. Chandu Champion (2024)

Sports Movies in India

Our first selection is a new and important addition to the repository of sports movies in India. Directed by Kabir Khan and starring Kartik Aaryan, Chandu Champion is a gripping biographical sports drama. Capturing the inspiring journey of Murlikant Petkar, India’s first Paralympic gold medallist, on the big screen, the movie highlights a forgotten champion. The film was critically praised for its powerful performances, a heartfelt narrative, and a dynamic soundtrack by Pritam. Ayan Khan Sroha and Vijay Raaz’s performances also stand out in this uplifting tale of triumph amidst never-ending tragedies.

2. Mary Kom (2014)

Sports Movies in India

In a country where the state of both boxing and women’s sports leaves much to be desired, the story of a woman boxer, a world champion at that, is one for the storybooks. And indeed, Mary Kom’s life is one heck of a story. Played brilliantly by Priyanka Chopra, who portrays Kom’s journey from a small-town Manipur girl to a world champion boxer, Omung Kumar’s film received both critical and commercial success. With memorable performances and sincere storytelling, it’s easily one of the best sports movies in India.

3. Maidaan (2024)

Sports Movies in India

Historical sports movies in India on soccer are a rarity. From that perspective, Maidaan is a welcome addition. While the film received mixed critical reception along with a dismal collection at the box office, its nostalgia-inducing cinematography and riveting performances are both entertaining and inspiring. The movie depicts the story of Syed Abdul Rahim, a major Indian football coach, played by Ajay Devgn, and his journey from the 1952 Olympics to the 1962 Asian Games. Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s passion for this underdog story is evident through his direction and storytelling, and you can feel that same earnestness when watching the movie.

4. Irudhi Suttru (2016)

Sports Movies in India

Also released as Saala Khadoos in Hindi, Irudhi Suttru is the story of a disgraced boxing coach played by R Madhavan. But when a feisty young woman, played aptly by the newcomer Ritika Singh, enters his life, he has a shot at redemption. With some powerful performances and a “punchy” storyline, Sudha Kongara’s directorial venture is one of the more visually deft and refreshing sports movies in India. While it largely follows a sports drama template, the realistic world and the lead cast ensure you’re in for a treat!

5. Chak De! India (2007)

Sports Movies in India

Easily one of the, if not the, most cult classic sports movies in India, the film is more than the story of an underdog team on its way towards glory. It’s the story of religious prejudices, sexism, and team unity, brought together by a talented cast, brilliant direction, powerful screenplay, and inspiring feminist themes. Even after a decade and a half, Chak De! India remains one of the best sports movies in Bollywood, successful on both critical and commercial fronts.

6. Gold (2018)

Sports Movies in India

India has won 10 Olympic gold medals to date. Eight of them were won by the Indian men’s hockey team; such was the dominance of the nation at one point. But the road wasn’t smooth sailing. With most team members leaving the country after partition, gathering a team and winning the Olympic Gold was no joke. Gold is that story. It’s the tale of how Independent India won its first gold medal. Despite the inconsistent writing in parts and some melodramatic moments, Reema Kagti’s direction holds the movie together, particularly with the climactic match. If you love watching patriotic sports movies in India, this one will keep you hooked!

7. Rashmi Rocket (2021)

Sports Movies in India

Sports movies in India often portray systemic failures only superficially. But, simply hiding or underemphasizing something doesn’t take it away. Rashmi Rocket is a story of gender bias in sports and is an important addition to the hyperandrogenism debate. Directed by Akarsh Khurana and written by Aniruddha Guha with a remarkable lead performance by Taapsee Pannu, Rashmi Rocket is an inspiring and enthralling work that also further contributes to the gender equality discourse, avoiding the typical pitfalls and stereotypes.

8. Mukkebaaz (2017)

Sports Movies in India

Directed by Anurag Kashyap, Mukkabaaz is a gritty sports drama about caste politics, corruption, and ambition. The film was a passion project of Vineet Kumar Singh. It’s reflected in his powerful performance. He plays Shravan Kumar, an aspiring boxer battling systemic injustice. Zoya Hussain and Jimmy Shergill also deliver wonderful performances. The film’s raw, authentic portrayal of the oft-romanticised underdog story makes it one of the best sports movies in India. Mukkabaaz‘s intense, emotional journey and social critique make it a must-watch.

9. Captain (2018)

Sports Movies in India

Directed by Prajesh Sen, Captain is a biopic of V. P. Sathyan, the revered former captain of the Indian football team. Jayasurya emotively portrays Sathyan, fleshing out both the glory of his football career and the struggles leading to his tragic end. The film adeptly explores themes of recognition, mental health, and the personal sacrifices that athletes have to go through. With a strong supporting cast including Anu Sithara and Renji Panicker, Captain is one of the more heartfelt biopics and sports movies in India that honours its subject’s legacy while depicting the harsh realities faced by athletes.

10. Jhund (2022)

Sports Movies in India

Jhund boldly diverges from typical Bollywood sports movies in India by focusing on societal issues through the lens of football. Directed by Nagraj Manjule, the film shows how a bunch of slum children guided by Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay Barse overhaul their lives through football. With a great ensemble cast, Jhund has plenty of humour and social commentary. Though the pacing slackens sometimes, the film’s message on opportunity and resilience stays with you.

11. Jungle Cry (2022)

Sports Movies in India

If you’re a fan of simple storytelling without the soundtrack telling you how to feel, few sports movies in India would satiate your taste. Not Jungle Cry. An uplifting sports drama that celebrates the triumph of underprivileged children from Orissa at the U14 Rugby World Cup, the film lets the story and performances take centre stage. Directed by Sagar Ballary, the film stars Abhay Deol, Emily Shah, and Atul Kumar in central roles. While showing the power of sports to change lives, the story also shows how perseverance, guidance, and teamwork can create extraordinary achievements. Familiar in its storytelling, Jungle Cry charts the journey of these young athletes with sincerity and emotional depth.

12. Sarpatta Parambarai (2021)

Sports Movies in India

Fans of sports movies in India simply can’t watch this one! Sarpatta Parambarai, directed by Pa. Ranjith, takes the viewers to 1970s North Chennai’s boxing culture. Kabilan, enacted by Arya, is a boxer struggling through caste conflicts and personal challenges. Bringing the era’s gritty realism alive, Pa. Ranjith, supported by Santhosh Narayanan’s evocative score and Murali G’s atmospheric cinematography, creates a memorable piece. Critically acclaimed and commercially successful, it balances sport’s adrenaline with social commentary perfectly, making it a standout in Tamil cinema and among the sports movies in India. Sarpatta Parambarai celebrates underdogs and their battles, both inside and outside the ring.

13. Koni (1984)

Sports Movies in India

Koni, a Saroj Dey directorial, starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Sriparna Banerjee, is a story of resilience against adversity. Based on Moti Nandi’s eponymous novel, the film follows the titular character, Koni, a girl from Kolkata’s slums, as she overcomes poverty and societal challenges with her coach’s guidance, Khidda (Chatterjee). The film is both an inspirational sports drama and a social commentary. The National Award-winning movie remains one of the most influential Bengali sports movies in India, showing the human spirit’s victory over hardship and discrimination.

14. Golondaaj (2021)

Sports Movies in India

Golondaaj is a tribute to Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari, the visionary Indian footballer. Directed by Dhrubo Banerjee, this Bengali historical sports drama is set in the early 19th century, showing how Sarbadhikari introduced and popularized football in colonial India. Dev aptly portrays Sarbadhikari, supported by a strong ensemble cast. The film captures the era’s essence through an intricate production design and transfixing cinematography. Golondaaj celebrates Sarbadhikari’s legacy with heartfelt storytelling and impassioned performances, making it a must-watch for lovers of sports movies in India.

15. Aaha (2021)

Sports Movies in India

How many sports movies in India have you seen set around tug of war? The game’s immense popularity isn’t reflected in mainstream cinema. Let’s change that as we travel to the 1980s and 1990s and witness the legendary team, Aaha Neeloor. Directed by Bibin Paul Samuel, the film celebrates the rustic charm of characters balancing their mundane day jobs with nocturnal glory on the tug-of-war stage. With a gripping screenplay by Tobit Chirayath and Sayanora Philip and Shiyad Kabeer’s brilliant soundtrack, Aaha highlights the spirit of sportsmanship and community.

16. 10 (2022)

Sports Movies in India

10, directed by Karm Chawla, is a story of ambition, betrayal, and redemption. Vijay Kumar, played by Vinay Rajkumar, confronts doping accusations that strain his relationship with his coach. While adhering to the familiar sports drama formula of rise and fall, 10 is special for how it shows the coach-student dynamic along with some well-executed emotional beats. Despite budget constraints, the movie makes its mark with compelling performances, particularly by Vinay Rajkumar, who plays the lead role earnestly. Among Kannada sports movies in India, 10 is a must-watch.

17. Yellow (2014)

Sports Movies in India

Directed by Mahesh Limaye, Yellow tenderly explores the complexities of a mother-daughter relationship amid developmental disabilities. Based on the true story of Gauri Gadgil, who plays herself in the film, Yellow is a story about the power of personal passions. Released to critical acclaim, it received accolades at the 61st National Film Awards, including a Special Jury Award. Every lover of sports movies in India will love this film’s sensitive portrayal, anchored by heartfelt performances. Brilliantly addressing societal perceptions and the human spirit against insurmountable odds, Yellow is a must-watch.

18. Dangal (2016)

Sports Movies in India

The story of one of the most renowned sporting families, the Phogat sisters, all of whom are wrestlers, and how that came to be, Dangal follows Mahavir Singh Phogat and his wrestling daughters. With some breathtaking sports sequences and Aamir Khan’s masterful performance, the film combines sports with drama well. The highest-grossing Indian movie of all time (as of July 2024), the film is easily among the most popular sports movies in India. Depicting the trials of training and the complexities of familial relationships, Dangal is a great movie to get inspired and never give up on your dreams.

19. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Sports Movies in India

A biopic on one of the earliest Indian athletes and the first one to participate in the Olympics deserves due research and a grand portrayal. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag does all that and more. Farhan Akhtar, in one of his career-best performances, brings Milkha Singh alive, showing his journey from the trauma of Partition to becoming a national hero. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the film rides on Akhtar’s back, along with some stunning cinematography. It’s a tribute to a glorious life, one filled with courage, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a must-watch for its inspiring story and remains one of the most influential sports movies in India.

20. Budhia Singh: Born to Run (2016)

Sports Movies in India

Budhia Singh: Born to Run translates the extraordinary yet contentious journey of Budhia Singh, the world’s youngest marathon runner, onto the big screen. A Soumendra Padhi directorial, you see the tale of a child prodigy mentored by Biranchi Das (played by Manoj Bajpayee), and his journey through the hallways of fame, controversy, and societal pressures. It doesn’t shy away from addressing the many ethical dilemmas surrounding the story. The performances, especially Mayur Patole’s portrayal of Budhia, translate the frenzy and the humanity of this extraordinary story compellingly.

21. Hawaa Hawaai (2014)

Sports Movies in India

Ready for one of the most heartwarming sports movies in India? Amole Gupta’s Hawaa Hawaai is the tale of Arjun’s dreams. Partho Gupte, as Arjun, personifies resilience and aspiration. Saqib Saleem’s portrayal as a supportive coach is also excellent, creating a touching mentor-student bond. From the hardships of slum life to a journey of skating excellence, along with themes of friendship and determination, Gupte’s direction in Hawaa Hawaai blends realism with hope and stays with you.

22. Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu (2010)

Sports Movies in India

Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu is a heartfelt Telugu sports drama that authentically depicts rural aspirations through Suri (Nani) and his friends. The film follows the village team’s quest to win a kabaddi tournament amidst various challenges. Directed by Tatineni Satya, the film was praised for its realistic match sequences and emotionally powerful script. One of the standout Telugu sports movies in India, Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu, stays with you long after the final whistle.

23. Godha (2017)

Sports Movies in India

A delightful blend of sports, comedy, and drama, Godha, a Basil Joseph directorial, is anchored by Tovino Thomas and Wamiqa Gabbi’s performances. An enthralling story of ambition and camaraderie in the world of wrestling, Basil Joseph’s direction is fresh, aptly capturing Kerala’s wrestling culture. The emotional density of the story is duly balanced by its lighthearted moments that create a complete package of an experience. Godha’s aspirational and resilient spirit creates an engaging experience for all lovers of sports movies in India.

24. Harjeeta (2018)

Sports Movies in India

Harjeeta is the journey of its titular character, a determined young man from a humble background with soaring dreams in field hockey. Directed by Vijay Kumar Arora and led by the brilliant Ammy Virk as Harjeet, the sports drama has a strong emotional core. You see the familiar tropes of familial support, personal sacrifices, and the pursuit of excellence. With a balanced mix of drama, romance, and comedy, Harjeeta is a great addition to the list of sports movies in India.

25. Tunka Tunka (2021)

Sports Movies in India

Tunka Tunka is one of the few sports movies in India that revolve around cycling. Hardeep Grewal debuts in style with a heartfelt portrayal of Fateh Singh, a cyclist battling cancer. Directed by Garry Khatrao, the film navigates through the usual themes of family dynamics, friendship, rivalry, and the power of positivity despite what life throws at you. Grewal’s impressive performance is duly supported by a strong performance from Balwinder Bullet as his mentor. The screenplay builds to an emotional crescendo, leaving a strong impact on the viewer.

26. Gujarat 11 (2019)

Sports Movies in India

Our last choice for the best sports movies in India is also the first Gujarati sports drama. Gujarat 11 attempts to blend sports drama with social issues. Daisy Shah plays Divya Chauhan, an ex-footballer turned tough cop mentoring juvenile delinquents for a football tournament. Daisy anchors the film with her intense performance, the storyline echoing familiar themes from Bollywood sports dramas like Chak De! India. Despite the predictability and underdeveloped subplots, the film is an excellent step as the first Gujarati sports flick. Its musical score and technical aspects make your watching experience worthwhile.

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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