Azhar Movie Review
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Nargis Fakhri, Lara Dutta, Gautam Gulati, Kunal Roy Kapur, Karanvir Sharma and Manjot Singh
Direction: Tony D’Souza
Duration: 2 hours 11 minutes
Story: A disclaimer at the start says that it is not a biopic on the life of one of the most celebrated and controversial Indian cricket captains Mohammad Azharuddin(Emraan). So the makers hoodwink you submission that it is not a biopic. But one has also to be blind, not to be able to see the similarities between Azhar’s life and this film.
Review: You stay invested here because the material at hand combines India’s two religions-cricket and films. Of course, this generation would rather see biopics on MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli. But, to give the devil his due, Azhar was an idol in the 80-90s. The film traces the rise of a prodigy born into a modest Muslim household in Hyderabad. As early as his 20s, he goes on to become one of the most accomplished Indian batsman and a paisa-vasool fielder.
Touching on Azhar’s blazing test journey prophesied by his maternal grandfather (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), who tells him that he should invest in the flick of the wrist, not futile conversations, we are shown how the Muslim boy with `Mohammad’ in his name, becomes an overnight rage after he slams back-to-back centuries. It is interesting to see how cricketers like Ravi (Gautam), Manoj (Karanvir) and Navjot (Manjot) who patronize him initially, later resent his rise as the Indian captain. The trappings of fame also rock his personal life. He strays from his arranged marriage to Naureen(Prachi) to an extra-marital affair with a Bollywood actress, Sangeeta(Nargis). And if that is not all, his career is threatened by a match-fixing allegation that forces him to take legal recourse.
His desire to play a hundred tests remains a pipe dream because he is banned after his 99th nine. Without giving away too much, here one must add that the court-room drama with Reddy (Kunal) defending him and Meera (Lara) against him, is partly banal, partly an eye-opener. Emraan bears no physical resemblance to Azharruddin. However his mannerisms—the blinking of his eyes and swagger add to a knockout performance.
Watch Azhar for him.