Azhar - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

A collection of newspaper articles presented in the form of moving images. Yet, it brings some form of closure to not-so-happy trip down nostalgia, even if it is fictional.

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Yes, a woman is wronged when her husband, who she loves and more importantly, trusts cheats on her. Yes, a sports fan is wronged when a player they love and trusts, cheats or is even accused of cheating. When Emraan Hashmi trying his best to convince us that he is Mohammed Azharuddin, pleads to the cricket board saying, “You know me. Could I do that? Could I sell my country out?”, you feel like he is talking to the cricket fan in you. Especially because, it was unbelievable, when it did happen. If Azharuddin is a cheater, anyone else can be, right? So, the film brings about some sort of closure to that unpleasant time. Even if it is not very convincing – as a film, as a story.

It is a good thing then, that a voiceover reads out a long disclaimer absolving the film from the responsibility of being a biopic. Because that would then require it to give some context to the Hansie Cronje allegation, the South African cricketer who was part of another scandal himself. The film would also have needed to be smarter about showing why it took 8 years for the goofy lawyer (Kunal Roy Kapoor) to smarten up. The film could also offer some explanation for taking cheap shots at other cricketers. It would have had to dig deeper and be much smarter.

But hey, this is not a biopic. So we get newspaper articles strung together with a not so convincing actor playing the cricketer. Emraan Hashmi's performance is earnest. And it's not like the actor has to bear physical resemblance to the player. Even if you put a 70+ Amitabh Bachchan and tell me to believe he is Mohammad Azharuddin from the 90s, I will give you a benefit of doubt. But, the mannerism, the body language, his diction, something had to be in sync, right?

Prachi Desai is appropriately demure as the first Mrs Azharuddin and does most with the little space she has. But there is a huge distraction in Kunal Roy Kapoor's act, more specifically his uneven and where-are-you-from accent. Lara Dutta, as the lawyer too is too superficially written a character considering she has a big enough part. In fact, the only actor then who manages to convince is Nargis Fakhri who has to play an actress who cannot act well.

As a story then, Azhar doesn't pace itself too well. For example, to start his story Azhar spends a lot of time on the player's childhood with zero mention of his rise from the streets of a regular household in Hyderabad. After a brief mention of his glorious debut, there is no mention of his efficiency as India's best captain, whose record was broken only 15-17 years later. There is a passing reference to his rich taste but barely any incident that lets that come through. Even if this were a 100% fictional character, we would need these details to get involved in the story.

Our involvement is taken for granted and actually we give in willingly too. So, despite lapses in the narrative, despite dialogue writing that makes almost every character into a preacher with an 'inspirational quote of the day', despite unanswered questions, we stay interested. This interest, this engagement which was so willingly given without any doing from the filmmaker, is not used to its fullest. In the end, if you come out of the theater feeling that the film was 'not too bad' it is quite likely that it is because we like the cricketer, we like cricket.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Mostly clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of kissing scenes. Letching and extra-marital affairs.
  • Concept: A fictional account of real-life cricketer, Mohammed Azharuddin
  • General Look and Feel: Like any other film with this budget and from this time. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2

Azhar - Trailer

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Comments (7)

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Fan :

One more movie that I will most certainly skip spending money on.

Biopic on controversial character is usually to idolise the characters. So no-no to biopic on Azhar, Sanjubaba, ...

TimELiebe:

I'm with @Fan on this.

Anuj:

Nothing wrong in making films on controversial personalities. But glorifying them and empathizing with them is a bad bad habit that bollywood film makers have gotten into of late. Be it Talvar, Azhar, the upcoming Raees or even the Sanjay Dutt biopic. One sided takes on convicts is the last thing that makers should get into.

Murtaza Ali Khan:

Just like Azhar's career and life, the movie also has its highs and lows, but there is not a moment in there that can be described as boring.

My full review can be read at:

www.apotpourriofvestiges.com/2016/05/azhar-2016-movie-review.html

Atul:

I thought the move was alright. The music album is pretty good with bol do na zara and itni si baat hai songs. Emraan Hashmi does a decent job in his role.

Lyrics:

once again Emraan Hashmi proves that his song is popular than his movie. Bol Do Na Zara song is so popular.

Meera:

Bol Do Na Zara is a my favourite song in Azhar.The Lyrics of the song also great.

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