FIFA documentary on Sunil Chhetri: What's it about, what worked and what didn't

The making of ‘captain, leader, legend.’ Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

FIFA has released a documentary based on Sunil Chhetri, called 'Captain Fantastic' on their streaming platform FIFA plus. It's a three-part mini-series and it is being shared widely. We watched it to see what the fuss is all about.

What's this about?

The making of 'captain, leader, legend.' If you had to pitch it in a line - it's a story of how a boy from Delhi grew into the finest footballer India has seen this century, told by the man himself and those closest to him.

The way FIFA plus is marketing it is interesting too - with a poster of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi... and Chhetri. What connects two of the greatest footballers of all time with this local hero, you ask? Well, they are 1-2-3 on the leading men's international goal scorers list (active players).

What does it have?

As ever with Chhetri, lots of introspection. He tells you clearly what went wrong at several points of his career and how he course corrected to become the player he is now.

The documentary team has got his family on camera and that's brought out some endearing memories while former players like Bhaichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh and former coaches like Subrata Bhattacharya (also Chhetri's father-in-law), and Sukhwinder Singh lend solidity to the background narrative.

There are several photographs from his childhood and videos of his early playing days (including his first hattrick for India), and that adds a novel touch to the documentary.

What does it not have?

Apart from the photographs and a few of the videos, most of what is said and shown in the documentary has been well documented before. If you've followed Chhetri for a while now, this mini-series can get boring if you watch it all in one stretch.

Who should watch it?

Anyone who has an hour and a half to spare, really. It's split into three episodes (25, 27, 41 minutes) and you can comfortably take each episode a day at a time.

Most fans would know most things mentioned in the documentary, but if you're a fan you probably don't mind hearing (and seeing) it all again. Highly recommended for anyone looking for an entry into Indian football and Chhetri, though.

Any other similar documentaries you'd recommend?

The selection on the channel is pretty impressive internationally, of course. There are stories of nations ranging the indomitable Spanish World Cup winners to tiny Iceland making a mark, and icons from the inspirational Mohammed Salah to the bundle of joy that is Ronaldinho, from Ali Al Habsi (Oman's greatest ever footballer) to Brazilian women's champion Sissi.

Oh, and don't miss Democracia em Preto e Branco: the story of a Brazilian club and a bunch of footballers who used their platform to champion freedom and democracy.

P.S: if you're new to Chhetri and Indian football and you loved this mini-series, don't miss out on watching him live (in the flesh or on the telly): His Bengaluru FC kick off their ISL season on October 8, and you can catch the action live on Disney+ Hotstar/Star Sports.