Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Documentary Review: Fire in Babylon: West Indian Cricket ONLY!

Now, should a documentary take sides, by no really doing so, but just not presenting the alternate available information, in order to favour its focal point? Fire in Babylon is a 2010 documentary on the rise of the West Indian team during the 1970's the 1980's. Relying heavily on footage and player interviews, there is certainly a powerful story to tell on how Clive Lloyd led a legendary team through racial discrimination, defeats, been grossly underpaid, to finally emerge as a feared and invincible test team. The domination was such that no team could defeat the West Indies in tests between 1980 and 1994.

This is also the story of life-threatening bowling, helmet-less batsmen, the emergence of Bob Marley and the Wailers, broken faces and sheer courage. A steal for Cricket history lovers, the only grouse is the gaping absence of interviews of Tony Greig, Greg Chappel, Ian Botham, Sunil Gavaskar and other cricketing counterparts. The only talk we get is that of the West Indian players. With words like 'white dominance', 'black wash', 'negro slaves' been bandied about, surely we would have liked to know how the counterparts saw this dominance. What was it to face Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner and Colin Croft? Nobody tells us.

This otherwise compelling documentary thus comes across as a motivational video for the present depleted WI team, in parts. Still, for the sheer magnitude of what the West Indian Cricket Team achieved, Fire in Babylon is a good, entertaining add-on to your knowledge.  

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