Azhar is based on certain well known and highly talked about incidents and facts of the former Indian international cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin and captain in the 1990s. Starring Emraan Hashmi in the title role, the film is directed by Tony D'Souza.
Azhar is based on certain well known and highly talked about incidents and facts of the former Indian international cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin and captain in the 1990s. Starring Emraan Hashmi in the title role, the film is directed by Tony D'Souza. less
“You wanted a last ball thriller? You only get an over dramatized one sided biopic!”
I am not a big cricket fan and have only a sketchy idea about Azhar’s success as the Indian Captain and the match fixing controversy. His affair with Sangeeta Bijlani however, I had followed with great interest. Armed with this lack of knowledge of his cricketing prowess and a great interest in what made him so attractive to her (and now to Jwala Gutta) I went to see the movie.
First off, Emran doesn’t have Azhar’s lean athletic build. He looks more like maybe his tubby older brother. Nargis Fakhri on the other hand has Sangeeta Bijlani’s height and build. So, the pair look a bit odd. You have to reset Azhar’s image in your mind if you have to see it as his life story.
The story follows a flashback- forward format which works quite well most times, apart from when we have to suffer a flashback of a flashback. The movie traces his rise in the sport and his winning streak as a captain before taking on the meeting with the bookies and his love story.
Since the story is about a real person who is still very much in the news, the movie keeps you interested. However, it is a bit on the stodgier side and lacks the deftness that Azhar shows in his strokes (I came back and saw a few videos!). We get very scenes of his equation with team members. A bit more of him also would have have given us a better sense of the man. For e.g. we are told Azhar has a love for expensive things but apart from a token dialogue we don’t see any evidence of that unless a bag full of Macho Man underwear is supposed to show us his expensive sartorial tastes.
The story between him and his first wife is sweet and the romance between him and Sangeeta Bijlani takes place mostly over a song and a few scenes of her saying no and he looking at her intensely in true Emran Hashmi fashion.
If I was trying to get an inside view of the man, the cricket team or his love life, then I did not quite get it. What we get is watered down version fit for public consumption. It is respectful and quite emotional in its approach but lacks the punch that a cricketer of his talent and an emotional, passionate person to boot, deserves. As it stands, the story focuses more on his isolation and the fight to clear his name.
Emran looks cautious and in control. Nargis Fakhri also seems quite artificial though she dresses up in perfect 90s style with high-waisted trousers and padded shoulders. Prachi Desai has perfected the docile wife and does it again with a saccharine smile. Her make-up is ghastly though and makes her look patchy and white. Lara Dutta does a great job as the aggressive lawyer from London. She is a pleasure to watch on the screen. Kunaal Roy Kapoor as his lawyer fighting an uphill task is also pretty good though I don’t know whether his actual lawyer was really so bumbling in real life.
Azhar is fairly entertaining only because we know the story. It could have been faster and hit a few more boundaries and sixes dramatically as well as emotionally to give us a greater understanding of the man. At two plus hours it drags bit but Nargis does a far better Oye oye than Ms. Bijlani. OK for a one-time watch.