Million Dollar Arm poster

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

My Ratings: 3/5

The film Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story. A story dipped in desperate ambition; a story coated with emotions and beliefs; a story that unexpectedly changed the lives of two teenagers from India for good.

After Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire this film is probably the next most successful Indian tale told by the foreigners.

And it seems that Oscar winning music director A.R.Rahman is definitely a common factor whenever Hollywood decides to take the Indian route.

Million Dollar Arm is a biographical sports drama about an American sports agent J.B. Bernstein (played by Jon Hamm in the film).In the verge of getting broke J.B. Bernstein had this brainwave to train young cricketers (bowlers) from India into professional Baseball players (pitchers) for the major baseball league in the US.

What an idea Sirji !

So according to the plan J.B. Bernstein promptly fly to India and organize a talent hunt by the name of ‘Million Dollar arm’. The search goes on for months until they find two teenagers Rinku and Dinesh (both from rural background) who can throw the ball accurately and at the desired speed. So they get selected and go to US for further training.

Eventually their bonding with J.B.Sir (J.B. Bernstein’s name shortened with respect) gets stronger and after initial failures Rinku and Dinesh do get selected to play in the US baseball league. Dreams that they have never even seen comes true.

I liked the intention of the film Million Dollar Arm but the execution could have been better in a few blocks.

For instance the casting of the two young Indian boys could have been much better- ideally someone fresh. In the film Rinku is played by Suraj Sharma (from Life of Pi) and Dinesh by Madhur Mittal (from Slumdog Millionaire) – both of them a tad too sophisticated for a rural Indian teenager (it’s not enough  just to pretend to have a language problem but it’s also about the overall body language).

I think Pitobash has done a much better job. He is so natural and has a great comic timing.

While on the topic of acting Alan Arkin and Lake Bell has to be mentioned. Jon Hamm also did a decent job playing the central character – nothing extraordinary but nothing to complain about as well.

The other thing that comes to my mind is the way India is shown in Hollywood films. The same traffic problem, Indian men being late and lazy at work, Indian food too spicy to handle, Indians moving their heads sideways as a yes …. I mean com’on you foreign directors – bring something fresh on the table.

I felt a few sequences are a bit hurried up. Especially after the initial setback when J.B.Sir tries to mingle with the boys – the bonding between them seemed a bit too sudden. It is like the director Craig Gillespie saying – now it’s time to wrap up the film so hurry up you guys and be good to each other.

On the whole Million Dollar Arm is a decent emotional film though – a one-time watch for sure.

Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiC8o7i_ZqE

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2 thoughts on “Million Dollar Arm (2014)”

  1. Since when have foreign directors depicted India truthfully? In fact, not even Indian directors do it anymore. So – nothing new about the depiction of India or Indian-ness. And nothing new about casting. And nothing new about just another film coming in and going out quite soon…

  2. Exactly Vinod – even some of the Indian directors depict India very superficially.
    But then again we have to be optimistic … always in the look out for quality cinema – patiently waiting for something fresh.
    Hopeful thinking….

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