The Real Life Story Behind The Legendary Movie, “Iqbal”
The first time I watched Iqbal it was with my family and that movie left us speechless. It is one of those movies which leave you motivated, inspired and spell bound. Iqbal was based on the son of the farmer who loved cricket. Iqbal (played by Shreyas Talpade) grows up to eat, sleep and live cricket. His dedication and passion for learning and honing his skills for bowling was commendable.
India has produced some of the world’s greatest cricketers, but the name ‘Baba Sidhaye’, also known as Yashwant Prabhakar –was the very first deaf and mute cricketer to have taken the field. Sidhaye was most well-known in his playing days as one of the best fielders in the country.
The film allegedly made on his life, Iqbal, won several awards, however – without acknowledging that the story is inspired by Sidhaye’s real life struggles.
Speaking about his father’s world record, Pravin (his son) said, “One of the world records is approved by Limca Book of Records as a National Record, which proves my claim that Baba Sidhaye is the first and only Deaf Mute cricket player in the world.
“It is the duty of Government Of India, Government of Maharashtra and BCCI to register these 3 unique world records of Baba Sidhaye in their books with immediate effect or to show us any other deaf-mute player in world cricket, who has done better than Baba Sidhaye. It is a fact now that there is not a single by-birth deaf-mute cricketer in the world (other than Baba Sidhaye) and I can submit Court Affidavit to this regard.”
An attacking batsman and an agile fielder during his days, Baba Sidhaye played 42 Ranji matches for Maharashtra, Mumbai and Railways from 1952 to 1967-68. An occasional leg spin bowler, he has also taken 10 wickets.
His contemporaries referred to him as “The Panther” because of his swift movement on the field and his accurate pickup and throws which ran out many batsmen.
Sidhaye died on November 24, 2002, due to a prolonged illness and it has been more than a decade that his only son Pravin Sidhaye is fighting for justice in terms of recognition and honours that the former cricketer deserves.
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