Movie Review: Emraan Hashmi Shines in Azhar, the Film Not So Much
Instead of showing Azhar as the much misunderstood man, the film tries to turn him into a saint.
The makers of Azhar are smart people! The disclaimer sets the tone for the entire film. So while Azhar is based on the former Indian Cricket Captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s life, creative liberties have been generously taken. This means useless song interventions, over-the-top dialogues, a melodramatic court scene and a pair of highly distracting duck-lips (read Nargis Fakhri) give us company.
Forget match-fixing, if this movie review had been fixed, I would tell you about how the story is so nuanced that we see Azharuddin in a whole new light, the songs and their lilting melody prove to be the soul of the movie, and how the various performances make it a compelling watch. Sadly, yours truly has received no suitcase full of dough and so I am compelled to tell you nothing but the truth.
All the details about the match-fixing scandal that we already know about are supplied to us in a plain vanilla fashion. Director Tony D’Souza gave writer Rajat Arora just a one line brief – show Azhar as a good boy! So even if he takes money from a bookie, he still never looses a match deliberately. Further, when he gets entangled in a messy extra-marital affair, so consumed by guilt is he that all his digressions should and must be forgiven. Instead of showing Azhar as the much misunderstood man with all his complexities, the film tries to turn him into a saint and that is its biggest problem!
The rest of the blame must be attached to Nargis Fakhri’s duck lips. They can’t act and neither can she!
The first half belongs to Prachi Desai who plays Azhar’s devoted wife and apart from shedding silent tears while looking stunning there isn’t much that she is allowed to do.
Emraan Hashmi is the only one who gets some heart into his performance. Though he doesn’t quite “look” like the real Azhar, he has managed to nail his drooping shoulders, slouching walk and hurried speech. For that matter none of the actors look anything like the characters they are supposed to play. Presumably to avoid controversies and litigations, Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Ajay Jadeja have been referred to by only their first names. Their terrible attempt at mimicking make matters worse!
Lara Dutta and Kunal Roy Kapur have been cast as lawyers. While Dutta only screams her way around Kapur manages to do justice to his role. His scenes with Hashmi provide moments of welcome relief in this otherwise drab tale .
If the “Hashmi Kiss” is what you are looking for, then yes… it happens in the second half with Fakhri’s lips! Overall, sloppy writing makes this match a washout! I’ll give it a very generous 2 Quints out of 5. Go for it only if you are in a particularly forgiving mood!
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