Verdict: A fictionalized summary of the real story.
While the younger generation is looking forward to the biopic of captain cool, MS Dhoni, Director Anthony D’souza has set the ball rolling with the release of Azhar, based on the life of one of the most successful and controversial captains of Indian cricket team, Mohammad Azharuddin. However, do not miss the disclaimer that says this is not a biopic but just a story inspired by Azharuddin’s life and has been made for entertainment purposes only.
The film revolves around the captain of Indian cricket team of the 1990s, his two wives and the match-fixing scandal that shocked the cricketing world. Starting with a very catchy intro and a winning shot, the film sets the expectations high. In the scene that follows Azhar, played by Emraan Hashmi is accused of match-fixing, banned from playing and all the bad things that can happen to this sportsman, does. And we are only just 10 minutes into the movie.
The movie has been made in a format very common these days – hopping back and forth in the past and present time while the story is being narrated. This is the story of Azhar, a normal Hyderabadi boy, most loved by his Nanu who wants him to be a cricketer and play 100 Test matches for India. Back to the present, inside the courtroom, the movie loses steam when the focus shifts from the courtroom drama and stays on Azhar’s personal life.
While an Emraan Hashmi-starrer rarely misses the bullseye with the music, the songs in Azhar can be called half-decent at best. This is not a typical Hashmi-film in a few other ways too. No, it isn’t a bad thing.
Hashmi who bears no physical resemblance whatsoever with Azharuddin puts in his all getting the latter’s body language and mannerisms spot on. Nargis Fakhri does her fair share by looking as stunning as she is and Prachi Desai once again plays the ideal wife onscreen. Lara Dutta puts up a stoic performance as a lawyer while Kunaal Roy Kapur entertains with some general cliches as the prosecutor. The rest of the cast playing small but significant roles adding to the excitement.
While the overall execution and story of the movie lacks depth, the movie keeps you gripped. It is a combination of cricket and Bollywood after all. The writers have done a commendable job penning a few dialogues that hit you at the right place the right time. The characters and relationships have been portrayed in a positive light and you will find it difficult to pick sides. The film tries to trace a decade in a little over two hours and hence maybe lacks the edge.
To sum it up, Azhar, is like the summary of a novel that you would definitely want to read.
Why You Should Watch This Movie
Watch it if you too are curious about the the story of the once-celebrated captain of the Indian cricket team who only seconds M.S.Dhoni in being the most successful. It will be hard to miss this as one of Hashmi’s better performances.