Rating: 2/5 Stars (Two stars)
Star Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Gautam Gulati, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Nargis Fakhri, Lara Dutta
Director: Tony D’Souza
What’s Good: The makers slap a huge warning towards the beginning, claiming it is not a biopic and that cinematic liberties have been taken on the story. Why good? Had it been a biopic, it would have been one of the most fickle attempts, shaming the cricketing legend too.
What’s Bad: A lengthy run-time, corny dialogues and a lackluster act by the lead cast!
Loo Break: Yes! Especially for the never-ending courtroom scenes.
Watch or Not?: Azhar is a film that glorifies Azharuddin as an underdog. For a fan of Cricket or Azhar, it comes as a huge disappointment due to mediocrity of the content. You could give this one a miss!
Born into a Hyderabadi family, a young Mohammad Azharuddin is convinced by his Naanajaan (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) that he will become a great cricketer some day and play 100 test matches for team India.
Soon, Azhar turns out to be a brilliant batsman and India’s high run-scorer thanks to his talent and a young captain too.
Once his professional life is on track, Azhar’s family decides, it’s time for the lad to get hitched. He meets Naureen (Prachi Desai) in an arrange marriage set up. The two soon tie the knot and his cricketing career keeps soaring.
The fame starts to play with his head and he gets dazzled by the riches. On a tour to London, he meets the Hindi cinema’s famed beauty Sangeeta (Nargis Fakhri). Initially being well cautious about his marital status, Azhar unintentionally falls for Sangeeta. The duo fall in love and he soon announces it to the world by dedicating her his Man of the match award.
Then starts the discourse of his fall as he meets a bookie named M K Sharma (Rajesh Sharma) and is pulled into a match fixing. Further, an 8 year battle at the court challenging the decision over life ban on cricket is what we see.
Azhar Review: Script Analysis
Azhar could easily be said to be one of the weakest films when it comes to portraying a real-life character on-screen. The writers have a great subject at hand and there is so much to explore but what they stick to is an overly commercial approach.
Filled with extremely corny dialogues that make little efforts to convey anything sensible, there is less to look out for in this script. It also seems more like, pieces from Azhar’s life have been simply weaved together in a montage to make us sympathize with him and his situation back then.
The courtroom scenes are written poorly with snooty dialogues assigned to Lara Dutta’s character that make the entire sequence highly fictitious. Side characters are gravely under-developed as opposed to their importance in Azhar’s real life.
With an explosive content at hand, the film fails to cash in on it to make it a juicier or a realistic affair.
It is a shame that in a country like India where Cricket is religion, a film like Azhar leaves you with nothing for its former captain.
Azhar Review: Star Performance
Emraan Hashmi plays the lead protagonist Azhar. While it was said that the actor spent a lot of time with Azhar to get into his character, it hardly shows in the film. Lopsided shouldered walk does not make up for his weak act in the film. We see too much Emraan in the film than Azhar thanks to his typical dialogue delivery.
Prachi Desai’s demure act of Naureen, the wife he wronged is quite decent. She does not have much screen-time but manages to do exactly what she is expected to in the film.
Nargis Fakhri is another weak link in the film. Her acting deficiency is known to us and it continues with this film. Other than batting her eyelids, pouting and dramatic soft sobs, she hardly has anything to do.
Lara Dutta as the oversmart and snooty lawyer Meera hams in the film. Also there is something terribly wrong with her look in the film.
Kunal Roy Kapur does a decent job as Reddy, Azhar’s lawyer. He overdoes his accent a little but overall a good change for him.
TV actors Gautam Gulati, Varun Badola and Fukrey fame Manjot Singh are cast as supporting characters in the film. Their characters are underwritten and hence fail to create any impact.
Azhar Review: Direction, Music
Tony D’Souza may have inserted a big slide at the start of the film claiming that the film is not a biopic but that surely does not give him any leeway from giving us such a fickle film.
Dealing with a sport like Cricket and not executing some class apart on-field scenes is a crime I would say. The camera-angles in most shots from the re-created India-Pakistan and the Jubilee cup are highly messed. What’s a cricket scene without the crowd-cheering giving you goosebumps?
Invoked with zero feelings of even Azharuddin’s love for the game, this glitzy affair has songs that are great to listen to, but misfits for story-telling.
Over-stretched court-room scenes, make you also feel like it was a 8 year ordeal after the judgement is passed.
One keeps waiting for the film to end but there is just so much hotch potch added in the second half that the run-time keeps increasing.
Azhar Review: The Last Word
Azhar is a complete misfilled. It neither captures the spirit of the game nor the personality. A 2/5 for the film!
Azhar releases on 13th May, 2016.
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