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Break Point Review – Movies Rediff.com

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Break Point Review – Movies Rediff.com

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Breakpoint is an emotional journey into the fairy tale of Indian tennis that went wrong,” notes Deepti Patvardhan.

Why did Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi break up?

This question has haunted Indian tennis and its fans for more than two decades.

How did they go from absolute magic to absolute hatred?

There were many rumors and reasons: coaches, girlfriends, money, ego.

BreakpointThe seven-part documentary series ZEE5 takes an in-depth look at their journey and attempts to answer the most important question in Indian sport.

While their story, with its ups and downs, has been well documented, this may be the first time the two protagonists, Paes and Bhupathi, have found a common platform to tell their side of the story.

Instead of turning it into a movie like he did with Dangaldirectors Nitesh Tiwari and his wife Ashwini Iyer Tiwari (Panga) decided to use a documentary format because, why not?

Lee-Hesh’s story already has all the drama, sports romance, success and failure, human spirit and flaws than most scripted fiction.

Their meteoric rise, spectacular falls and more will-or-nothings than Ross and Rachel have captivated tennis fans the world over.

It’s an explosive, complex story, and in the first three episodes the directors handled it very carefully.

Clips from their past matches – the fiery Paez and his incredibly fast hands in the net, the badass Bhupathi shooting aces or jumping for backhands without looking – not only get the adrenaline pumping, but highlight how good they were.

Bhupati has said in the past that to him the crux of their success was that two Indian boys took the “white man’s sport” by storm. And they did it with a style and swagger that was uncharacteristic of Indian sports in the 1990s.

“When you played Lee and Mahesh, you had to bring energy,” says the Brian twins, one of their main rivals. “You had to play with the same passion and love that they played with … if you were just doing the moves, you would be hit by a tidal wave.”

Indian tennis is currently experiencing an unusual lull, and looking back, we see two young men striding confidently onto the world’s biggest stages to their sometimes favorite song. Made in India causes goosebumps. They remain India’s strongest personality in world tennis.

The first three episodes trace the arc from their childhood to their first meeting and their first joint Grand Slam title.

The 1999 French Open, where Lee-Hesh made history by becoming the first Indian team to win a major tournament, is the main focus of history.

The weight of the achievement alone guarantees him a place of honor, but the documentary does a great job of setting the mood and technically ruining the finale against Jeff Tarango and Goran Ivanisevic.

It was the first of three Grand Slams combined.

The documentary not only showcases Paez and Bhupati’s spades on the tennis courts, but adds color with little details such as:

Who matched who for their first ever tournament?

What were their first impressions of each other?

What made them friends?

What did they do on the eve of winning their first Grand Slam tournament?

How did the bumps in the chest appear?

The narrative continues with the voices of Paes and Bhupati, as well as the voices of a variety of characters involved in their lives and careers.

Breakpoint brought together a group of friends, families, coaches and an all-star line-up of tennis players – their main rivals Woody (Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodford), the Bryans (twins Mike and Bob), Sania Mirza, Mark Knowles, Jonas Björkman and Rohan Bopanna – to fill in the gaps.

Where the directors excel is in getting Paez and Bhupati to talk about their best and not-so-flattering moments. Especially Bhupati, given his reputation for monosyllabic answers.

It is a mirror of their strengths and weaknesses.

It gives a glimpse of the opposite personalities of Paez – the aggressive alpha – and Bhupati – the low-key hero who broke the ranks to become India’s first Grand Slam winner.

The yin and yang Paez talks about worked wonders on the tennis court, but ended up ruining their partnership.

Bollywood films and songs, unsurprisingly, were one of the Indian duo’s common ground.

The second episode features a telling clip featuring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan. He says they like Sholaythey must listen to the song, Ye Dosti.

Unko woh gaana baar baar sunna chahiye, bas judjaaye donoBachchan says. “It’s going to be a great moment.”

With this statement, he conveys the mood of an Indian tennis fan.

Nearly three decades since the Lee-Hesh first teamed up, we’re still rooting for them.

And Breakpoint it is an emotional journey into the fairy tale of Indian tennis that went wrong.

Break Point airs on ZEE5.

Rediff Rating:

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