by P Sinha

 Posted on 14-May-2016 02:25 AM

Director Tony D'Souza mentioned in an interview that Azharuddin is almost like family and it shows. The film has just one view point, that of Azhar and only Azhar’s. More than a biopic, it is an explanation by Azharuddin to take the taint of match fixing off him.

To be fair, the film does not claim to be a true representation of the facts in its disclaimer. However, if your main character is a real person, the incidents actually took place, the other characters in the film are present in real life, it is hard to say that this is just a film made for entertainment. And if the viewer feels that the man presenting the film has an agenda, the line between a film and propaganda fuses.

Azhar’s life has enough material to make a biopic. His humble beginnings, his success on the field, his classy shots and his fascination with Bollywood. Cricket took Azhar from the bylanes of Hyderabad to dizzying heights. It took him to that aspirational space where he could not have imagined to reach were it not for cricket.

The film opens with charges being leveled against Azhar for match fixing. He has no friends to stand by him and is fighting the battle all alone. Azhar was handed a life ban which he challenged in court. While the case is going on, the film cuts to his earlier days, his focus on his game, quick rise to captainship & the friction between teammates when Azhar shows authority after becoming the captain. It also touches upon the close link between the players and the film industry on one hand and the nexus with bookies and underworld on the other.

The film also shows how Azhar’s marriage to Naureen changes from a loving and caring union to an arrangement where they did not even have anything to talk about. Maybe the lack of communication and emptiness in a dull marriage drove him to the seductive charms of a Bollywood bombshell?

Surprisingly, the film does not deny that Azhar took money from the bookie. But it is the justification of the fact that will make even Azhar’s die-hard fans difficult to believe in the film. If a film can twist such a crucial aspect of the story, what else can be believed? Also, in the film it appears that a player is free to take independent decisions even after taking money from the bookies. In real life, once a player has taken money, he is trapped in the web that the underworld has spun for him. It is not easy to walk away.

Acting wise, Emraan Hashmi is excellent as Azhar. He has obviously worked hard on the look and mannerisms. However, he has been made to mouth filmy one liners which I doubt Azhar would have ever said. Prachi Desai has done a good job of essaying the good natured, demure Naureen. Rajesh Sharma as the bookie is as usual spot on. Nargis Fakhri as Sangeeta is able to bring the glamour of a Bollywood star, but fails in the acting department.

Tony D’Douza has paced the film well, not letting the viewers’ attention falter. However, in treating the film as a vehicle for Azhar’s redemption and the ludicrous twist in the end cannot let me take the film seriously. Azhar had the potential but never could be.


FilmPoster: By Balaji Motion Pictures,

Rating : 2/5

Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Nargis Fakhri, Rajesh Sharma, Kunaal Roy Kapur

Director: Tony D’Douza

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