22 September 2012 | anish-7
Calypso Kings to World Champions
First off a warning! "Fire in Babylon" is for TEST MATCH CRICKET connoisseurs. If T20, IPL, ODI is your ball game then you are better off staying away from this documentary.
Having said that "FIB" is not just about cricket; even if you have just a passing interest in the game you can still enjoy it as the film is about issues as eclectic as the rise of Black power in sports, Racism,Rastafarian culture, the unification of Caribbean islands which appear as just drops in an mass of water on the world map as West Indies, commercialization of sports and leadership.
For me and for a lot of other viewers it could just be once in a life time opportunity to watch your childhood cricket heroes come alive on celluloid screen. Or just to experience the phenomenon of what it was like for a team to dominate a sport/any sport for 15 years like no other team did before or after.
The film chronicles the transformation of West Indian Cricket team from a bunch of calypso style cricketers (entertaining and talented losers) to world beaters and how once West Indians started dominating the sport it gave the self belief to other black people that they were second to none irrespective of what sport they were playing What Tommie Smith started with Black Power Salute at the podium of 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City reached its pinnacle with the release of Nelson Mandela from South African prison. The film touches upon these and other history altering moments such as use of 4 pronged genuine pace attack as a weapon of annihilation on cricket pitch, Bob Marley's influence on Viv Richards' batting, Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket and how it changed the very soul of the game. Cricket, here, is simply the centerpiece of a much broader emancipation process.
Best part of the movie is that even though West Indies were 2 time world champs in One day cricket, the movie makes no reference to it.
Maybe 87 minutes is too short a runtime, however I would have liked to see a bit more of Malcolm Marshall. In my opinion, he was no less (if not better) than Michael Holding and Andy Roberts. Its hard to imagine a line up of Caribbean greats without Marshall spearheading the pace attack.
Catches win matches and the world beating West Indians too were an outsanding fielding unit comprising of live wires Clive Lloyd,Viv Richards and Gus Logie. There is absolutely no mention of this aspect.
I have watched umpteen Bollywood movies (with the exception of "Lagaan") based on cricket which made me hate the game but finally here is a movie that made me fall in love with cricket all over again.