Bollywood has started producing sports-based movies in the recent past. However, most of those projects are biographies. Web platform does provide opportunity to experiment and Bombers is Zee5’s first sports drama series. This 10-episode Zee5 web series has football as its central theme.
Directed by- Vishal Furia
Produced by- Sunil Chainani, Sameer Chand, Banijay Asia
Starring- Varun Mitra, Ranvir Shorey, Zakir Hussain, Anup Soni, Aahana Kumra, Sapna Pabbi, Prince Narula, Meiyang Chang
In a tragic bus accident, Bombers Football Club lost all its players except the lone survivor – the most celebrated player of the team – Badol Roy. Struggling with his nightmares and in order to fulfil his dream, Badol decides to move on and join Mumbai Rangers – the best football team in the country. Citing the reason that after the accident, there is no team left to play for the past two years, the scheming politician Manik Dasgupta announces the construction of a shopping mall on the club’s ground. The team and ground owner – Somu Da – decide to rebuild the team from scratch. He asks Badol for help for the sake of the Chandannagar community. Badol agrees and asks Debu Da – an alcoholic and failed player of yesteryears, separated from his wife – to coach the team. But the cherry picked team members have big egos and differences. Will they succeed in their attempt to rebuild the team and retain the ground? Will their personal shortcomings and failures hamper the team and its preparations? What kind of schemes Manik plans to derail the team and its advancement? And whether fate has some more nasty surprises in store for Bombers FC? Bombers gives answers to these questions one by one.
Shot in the documentary format, the story of Bombers is narrated by Andy. Andy meets everyone associated with Bombers – Somu Da, Debu Da, Badol, Badol’s love interest Sanjana and the politician Manik.
Backdrop story is loosely inspired from the infamous Munich Air Disaster 1958, which saw 8 players of Manchester United Football Team – nicknamed “Busby Babes” after the team’s coach Matt Busby – killed. Among the survivors were coach Matt Busby and 20-year old Bobby Charlton. Coach Matt Busby famously went on to rebuild the team, which eventually managed to cruise to victory in the FA Cup final five years later.
The series is based on and shot at the city of Chandannagar – erstwhile French colony located near Kolkata. France left Chandannagar in 1952, but the rich colonial heritage, architecture and the love for football remains intact. 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia was watched by the majority of the city population on a giant screen.
On the acting front, each of the lead actors – Varun Mitra as Badol, Ranvir Shorey as Debu Da, Zakir Hussain as Somu Da and Anup Soni as corrupt politician Manik – has performed their role equally well. Sapna Pabbi as documentary filmmaker Andy and Aahana Kumra as Sanjana have also done justice to their roles. Meiyang Chang as Tokai and Prince Narula as Bali had limited scope in their roles. Rohan Rai is impressive as Shiva. Football lovers would cherish Indian Football captain Sunil Chhetri in a special appearance in Bombers.
Music is catchy – the title track, the rap song and the club anthem – all are good to listen. Director Vishal Furia, who directed ‘Criminal Justice’ earlier, has shown improvement. However, despite good story and acting, Bombers suffers from some shortcomings – loose editing, unwarranted sub-plots like homosexuality, doping issues and inappropriate focus on football as compared to other things. The episode titles are – ‘The End’, ‘Bombers Arik Baar’, ‘The Challenge’, ‘Challenge Accepted’, ‘Into the League’, ‘Catastrophe Strikes’, ‘Bali vs Badol’, ‘Testing Times’, ‘Down and Out’ and ‘Fort Et Fier’.
Despite its shortcomings, Bombers as the inspirational story of a football team is worth a watch. In a country where the sports limelight is always stolen by cricket, such honest efforts which throw light on other sports, should be appreciated.