Emraan Hashmi may not look like Mohammad Azharuddin by any chance, but the under-rated actor gets the body-language and swag of the Indian beleaguered skipper bang-on. It offers an insider look at the
Story of Azhar
The story begins with a sting operation in which Manoj Prabhakar opens a veritable can of worms, which talk about apparent match fixing in the Indian cricket team. Azharuddin, the skipper, is held responsible for being in touch with a bookie and throwing away matches. Apparently, there is a fleeting mention of late Hansie Cronje’s (South African Captain) statement that Azhar had introduced him to the bookie.
As a result, the ICC and BCCI impose a life ban on the skipper. The story then shuttles between the present and the past, where we get an insight on the background of Azharuddin. Born in a humble Muslim family in background, young Azhar takes after his grand-father’s dream of seeing his grand-son play for Indian cricket team. The grand-father (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) even predicts that Azhar will play 100 test matches for India.
Azhar begins his career on a solid note with three back-to-back centuries in his first test match. He becomes the captain of the Indian cricket team, much to the disgruntlement of a few senor players like Ravi Shastri and Manoj Prabhakar. But the captain leads by example and becomes one of India’s most successful captains winning 90 ODIs.
Flush from success, Azhar married to Naureen (Prachi Desai) falls in love with the movie-star Sangeeta Bijlani (Nargis Fakhri) and ends up marrying her too. Towards the end of his cricket career, Azhar gets embroiled in a match-fixing scandal that has a life ban imposed on him. Cricket fans look at him with contempt, he is labelled a traitor of the nation and his effigies are burnt.
Azhar depends on his lawyer friend (Kunal Roy Kapoor) to bail him out. Much against the powerful female lawyer (Lara Dutta) who is all out to nail Azhar, the captain’s lawyer finally prepares a fine case that has the judgement acquitting Azhar of match-fixing. We are treated into to the reality of what really happened inside the dressing room and made to double-check if Azhar was really the villain of the piece, as he was made out to be.
Plus points of Azhar
- Fabulous dialogues by the ever-dependable Rajat Aroraa. Some of the samples are – Jab Koi Farak Nahi Padta, tab Zindagi mein Farak Padtha Hai’. ‘Duniya Mein Teen Tarah Ki Ladai Mashoor Hai – Pati, Patni ki Ladai, Petrol aur Paani ki aur cricket mein India aur Pakistan ki ladai’.
- Good deft direction by director Tony D’Souza. Even the climax of the film creates a terrific impact.
- The movie is a no-holds barred biopic, it is especially unforgiving on the likes of Manoj Prabhakar and Ravi Shastri.
- Great performance by Emraan Hashmi. This will count as one of his career-best performances. Kunaal Roy Kapoor is a treat to watch, his look in the movie makes him totally unrecognizable
- The screenplay makes ‘Azhar’ an engaging fare, as it shuttles between the past and present, deftly.
Minus points of Azhar
The personal life of Azhar is wrapped up in a series of short sequences. It does not delve into the divorce of Naureen. Compared to the hype of the two wives shown in the promos, the amount of time warranted to Naureen and Sangeeta Bijlani in the film, was less.
Watch Azhar, it is one of the better biopics in Bollywood, topped with good dialogues and a fabulous performance by Emraan Hashmi.
4/5 (very good)
Azhar – Box Office Collection
The movie opened on a good note in centers like Hyderabad, Gujarat and Bombay. With a good review and a thumbs-up by the public, the word of mouth publicity should take the movie ahead.