Available On: ZEE5 Duration: 7 Episodes / 40 Minutes Language: English
Story: The seven-part docuseries traces Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi’s childhood to their remarkable professional career as international tennis players. The two also open up about their friendship and their eventual split that shook Indian tennis as well their worldwide fans.
Review: Directed by Ashwiniy Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari, the docuseries features Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi reflecting on the best moments of their career and confronting the drama behind their split. Paes and Mahesh don’t just get candid in front of the camera but also got real about the reason behind their biggest regrets.
The series is a major callback to the 90s as it recalls some of the best and biggest moments in Indian Tennis history. It also brings back nostalgia with archive footage and photos of the leading pair and their historic moments on the court and outside the court. The series also features their commercial alongside former England batsman Sir Geoffrey Boycott, which is a treat to watch.
However, at the centre of the show is the answer to the question – what led to the split? Lee and Hesh, as they called each other in the ’90s, share their own perspective of the story. The two open up about what went down as their bond was tested and what led to the drama outside the tennis court between 1996-2001.
Leander, in the show, confesses that they shared a room at the beginning of their career and now despite living hardly five minutes away, the two haven’t visited each other at home. The makers try to uncover where that mistrust began.
It follows the two from their individual childhood struggles to the tennis court, where the two men met. Their win at Jakarta, sneakily staying at Wimbledon’s All England Club, spending hours together watching movies and playing on the court to several Davis Cup wins, Grand Slams to finally the Doha Asian Games.
The narration of the same story from both sides makes the show more interesting. Apart from Paes and Bhupathi, the makers have also brought in other narrators presenting a neutral worldview of the two.
The series also features journalist Rohit Brijnath, rival tennis players Mike and Bob Bryan, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, partners Radek Stepanek, Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna, friends, family members like Dr Vece Paes, Jennifer Paes, Krishna Bhupathi, Mira Bhupathi, Kavitha Bhupathi and their coaches.
The best part about the docuseries is, it gives a chance for the duo as well as others to open up about the incident without having to assign blame. All featured in the series interact with only the camera as they recall all that happened from memory and how they could have avoided the damage from happening.
In the end, the series turns out to be a teaching moment for the future generations about politics in sports and what comes after achieving the big dream. And in a moment of relief, Paes and Bhupathi at the end, do appear on the court together for a final chest bump.
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