Fire in Babylon, is amongst the few documentaries in Cricket, that has got so much acclaim. And it is because of the Heroes, their talent, their grit, their determination. It's because you get a peak into their hardships, the situation under which they played, their psyche. Now you know why they played like they did, what drove them to the peak, what raged in their blood as they walked the cricket field. And it wasn't just a cricket field for them, it was a battlefield and they warriors. They didn't sweat, they spilt blood.
Fire in Babylon tells you about the rise of West Indian cricket, in times when they were subjugated by the world, when racism was at its peak. And you hear it from the horses mouth - Andy Roberts, Clive Llyod, Vivian Richards, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, Micheal Holding, Malcolm Marshal, Colin Croft... and the list goes on.
It's not often that such a bunch of talented individuals come together on the field. Infact, it is like a cosmic anomaly. But, it was not just talent that drove them, their mission was more than just cricket, because cricket meant more than life to the people of the West Indies. It was their identity, their level playing field. The only place where they felt they belonged. The only place where those small specs on the earths surface, those islands united.
The film tells you the problems players faced with the social environment, the governing bodies, the media, the crowds in places like Australia and England. It truly sucks you in and makes you root for them all over again. You hear their story and you want them to win. You remember all the greats that played then and that followed - Ambrose, Walsh, Lara, and then you think about their consequent fall. It pains me to think what would the West Indians be thinking of the state their cricket has been brought to by its administrators. You thank god for talents like Gayle, Sammy - who are keeping it going.
I was in the West Indies a couple of years back - in Saint Lucia and I got into a conversation about cricket with the man who cleaned the pool. He sipped on the beer and talked passionately about cricket. He told me the pain they felt at the state of cricket in the Windies. He told me about Darren Sammy (he wasnt even in the team then), who had great talent but was being left out because of politics. He said that the administrators took players only from these big islands like Jamaica, Trinidad, Antigua and ignored the lesser islands. They arent looking for talent, just want to play politics. Even Brian Lara had to suffer due to it.
Thankfully, things are better now and West Indies is showing more zeal. But what they need is a true leader, someone like Clive Llyod who gave them a mission, who brought them together, who bound together not just the team, but the whole nation. Hope they get back to their golden days. Until then we can only reminisce, and think of all those great cricketers, their cool attitude, their gentlemanly cricket, their rhythm.
Talking about rhythm, music is the centerpiece of everything West Indians do, and that holds true for the film itself. The music is awesome, the background score, the rhythm keeps the pace lively, uplifts the visuals and truly gives you the flavour of the Carribean islands. It would be playing on your mind well after you have watched this documentary.
If you love movies, if you love cricket, then you have to watch this story of the Underdogs who became Kings. I have seen much much better documentaries, but this is mesmerising for the story it tells, the heroes it depicts. If not for the film making, then for the story itself. It's a pleasure to simply hear them talk about the bygone days. Watch it. It leaves you wanting more. Its VIVasious, cLIVEly , beHOLDING and much more....
( Do leave me your comments about ur thoughts on West Indian cricket, the masters and do LIKE to spread the word. Thanks.)