Up close and personal: Rashid Irani reviews Diego Maradona
Acclaimed British filmmaker Asif Kapadia's follow-up to his previous two award-winning documentaries (Senna, 2010; Amy, 2015) is another compelling non-fiction portrait, this time of soccer superstar Diego Maradona.
Incorporating never-seen-before footage sourced from the footballer's personal archive, Kapadia primarily concentrates on the rise-and-fall career arc between 1984 and 1992, when Maradona was in the glare of international spotlight.
Leading an unfancied Naples club team to two national-league titles and the coveted UEFA Cup, Maradona's fall from grace was hastened by his cocaine addiction, his dealings with the Neapolitan mafia and Italy's 1990 World Cup defeat to Argentina under the captaincy of their former hero.
Over the course of the two-hour film, the camera rarely strays from its subject. We are made privy, albeit only briefly, to Maradona's impoverished childhood in a favela and his controversial 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 quarter final World Cup encounter against Britain (widely considered symbolic revenge for his country's defeat four years earlier in the Falklands War). It also looks at his steadfast refusal to acknowledge the son born out of wedlock.
Evidently reconciled with his past misdeeds and seemingly at peace with himself, the final scenes with an obese, well-past-his-prime Maradona are exceptionally poignant.
The iconic sportsman aptly encapsulated his feelings for 'the beautiful game' when he asserted, "When you're on the pitch, life goes away. Problems go away. Everything goes away". Touché! -Hindustan times