Movies on sports stars are always motivating to watch. The beautiful synergy of mind and body goes on to do great things, of course, the truly great stories may be few and far between, but when one watches a movie like Pele, which graphically brings out the nuances of the exceptional sporting spirit that man possesses, it undoubtedly fills one with hope, wonder and a euphoric positivity. It fills me for sure.
So that’s why I was drawn to watch the movie Pele, and I did so with rapt attention. Absorbing the angst of his poverty, his deprivation of nurturing sporting opportunities, his grief at losing a friend, his anger at being ridiculed, pain at watching his fathers’ unfulfilled dreams and his tremendous ability to turn this cauldron of emotion into a smoldering flame within his belly.
His parents no doubt played a hugely supporting role in making him the persona he became – larger than life, yet self-effacing in demeanor. In their simple, humble way they encouraged and shaped him. From teaching him how to play sophisticated, subtle ball with a mango, to watching his every match on television, his father was a huge force of guidance and strength for his skill.
But the larger story that follows him from Dico to Pele is Ginga. His ability to capitalize on his once frowned upon cultural inheritance. His willingness to acknowledge that he had a talent that had been built upon by generations before him, and his eagerness to tap into it, his ability to carry others with him on his way up to success – no doubt, only a man of exceptional brilliance like Pele could have measured up to the task.
A special mention must be made of the incredible foot work – in all its skill, beauty and splendor. Something one does not see easily today. Football today has truly turned into a science, a game of rules and hardly retains that primordial spirit and instinct, where the mind and body coordinate to showcase the grace of the sport.
In the movie, Pele displays some exemplary courage to stay true to himself, his inherited culture of Ginga, even in the face of stiff opposition. He was quick to realize what worked for him and willing to go with it. So often today, we get buffeted by ruthless change in the garb of ‘development’ or ‘modernity’ and abandon our roots, aspiring for a mirage of the superior, the new, the stylish, the fad. Each of us have our inherited core value, what I learned from Pele is that if I have the courage to hold fast to it, I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and keep my head high, knowing that I am doing right, that I do best, that I am true.